Barring a massive rally, Tesla Inc.’s stock chart will produce the first bearish “death cross” pattern in more than two years on Friday, which some market technicians could view as a warning of further losses.
The electric vehicle industry leader’s stock TSLA, +1.27% rose 1.0% to $650.97 in afternoon trading Thursday, reversing an earlier loss of as much as 3.8% at the intraday low of $620.46.
The 50-day moving average (DMA), which many Wall Street chart watchers use as a guide to the shorter-term trend, fell to $630.35 in recent trading, and has been falling by an average of $1.13 a day over the past month.
Meanwhile, the 200-DMA, which is viewed by many as a dividing line between longer-term uptrends and downtrends, rose to $629.58, and has been rising by $1.10 a day over the past month.
That puts the 50-DMA on track to cross below the 200-DMA on Friday, which would snap a 20-month streak in which the 50-DMA has been above the 200-DMA.
The point where the 50-DMA crosses below the 200-DMA is referred by technical analysts as a “death cross,” which many believe marks the spot a shorter-term pullback evolves into a longer-term downtrend.
At current prices, the stock would have to soar 12.3% to close at $730.76 on Friday to keep the 50-DMA above the 200-DMA, according to MarketWatch calculations of FactSet data.
Death crosses aren’t usually seen as good market timing tools, given that their appearances are telegraphed far in advance. To some, they only represent an acknowledgment that a stock’s pullback has lasted long enough and/or extended far enough to consider shifting the narrative on the longer-term outlook.
Tesla’s stock hasn’t closed at a record since Jan. 26, and was recently trading 26% below its record of $883.09. Meanwhile, other Nasdaq-listed megacapitalization stocks like Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.92%, Microsoft Corp. MSFT, -0.90%, Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.94% and Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, -1.13% have all set fresh records this week, and Facebook Inc. FB, -1.38% shares closed at a record last week.
Tesla shares have shed 7.7% year to date, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.72% has gained 13.0% and the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.86% has advanced 15.0%.
And Tesla’s death cross could still warn of further losses.
The last Tesla death cross appeared on Feb. 28, 2019, about two months after it reached a multi-month closing peak, and after closing 15% below that peak. The stock tumbled another 44% before bottoming out three months later.
If it’s any consolation to Tesla investors, the stock charts of some rival EV makers have already produced death crosses: Nio Inc.’s NIO, -0.96% appeared on May 24 and Nikola Corp.’s NKLA, -1.37% appeared on Nov. 3, 2020.