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Elon Musk defends cutting off analysts, says they're shorting Tesla

Their questions ‘were neither valid nor pertinent’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk defended the snub of two Wall Street analysts on a conference call, proclaiming in a tweet on Friday that they "were trying to justify their Tesla short thesis."

"The 'dry' questions were not asked by investors, but rather by two sell-side analysts who were trying to justify their Tesla short thesis. They are actually on the *opposite* side of investors," Musk tweeted.

But the analysts Musk cut off, RBC Capital Markets' Joseph Spak and Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi, have a "hold" or equivalent rating on the stock. Both have a three-star rating out of five stars for accuracy on their coverage of the company, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Sacconaghi has a price target of $265 on Tesla stock. and Spak lowered his target to $280 from $305 on Thursday after the phone call many analysts characterized as bizarre. Tesla's median Wall Street price target is $317. The stock was trading at $284 before the opening bell on Friday.

On Wednesday's conference call following Tesla's results, Spak asked a question related to reservations of the Model 3 sedan and Sacconaghi asked a question on the company's capital requirement.

"(the questions) were neither valid nor pertinent," Musk tweeted.

Tesla has been burning through cash as it strives to efficiently and profitably build its first vehicle intended to be produced at high volume, the Model 3.

Both analysts were not immediately available for a comment on Musk's tweets.

Sacconaghi wrote in a note on Thursday that "we do worry that such theatrics will unnecessarily undermine investor confidence in Tesla's outlook."

Musk's antics on the bizarre call pushed the electric vehicle maker's shares down on Thursday, with several analysts making scathing comments and at least three brokerages cutting price targets on the stock.

In the call, Musk devoted 23 minutes in taking questions from a 25-year-old Tesla investor, Galileo Russell, who owns an YouTube investment channel called HyperChange TV.

"HyperChange represented actual investors, so I switched to them," Musk wrote in another tweet.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Arjun Panchadar

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