Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk acknowledged on Friday that it was "foolish" of him to snub analysts on a conference call earlier in the week, but further needled Wall Street with a series of accusatory tweets.
In a post-earnings call on Wednesday, Musk refused to answer questions from analysts on the electric vehicle maker's capital requirements, saying "boring, bonehead questions are not cool," before turning questions over to a little-known investor who runs HyperChange, a YouTube investment channel.
The outspoken performance shocked many analysts, sparked a fall in Tesla's share price and led some to question whether Musk's behavior could risk the company's ability to raise capital.
In early-morning tweets on Friday, Musk said the two analysts he cut off — RBC Capital Markets' Joseph Spak and Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi — "were trying to justify their Tesla short thesis."
"Shorting" means they were betting the stock would fall. The two analysts have "hold" or "neutral" ratings on the stock, according to Thomson Reuters data.
"I should have answered their questions live. It was foolish of me to ignore them," Musk tweeted.
The two analysts were not immediately available for comment.
The spat comes at a crunch time for Tesla, when it is struggling to ramp up production of its Model 3 sedan, on which its profitability depends. It is trying to build 5,000 of the vehicles per week by the end of June and overcome manufacturing hurdles that have delayed its rollout.
Although Musk has insisted the company neither needs nor wants new funding, many believe the company will seek to raise more capital by the end of 2018.
Tesla's stock recovered a little on Friday, up 3.4 percent at $294.09. But short sellers, who shorted nearly 400,000 shares on Thursday, doubled that amount on Friday, according to financial analytics firm S3 Partners.
"Musk's meltdown will change Tesla's ability to raise capital when he needs it with a sector of investors," said Eric Schiffer, chief executive of the Patriarch Organization, a Los Angeles-based private-equity firm.
But Nord LB analyst Frank Schwope said that Musk's refusal to answer questions or receive criticism was "not very clever" but added that his ability to find new money was still intact.
The questions Musk cut short on Wednesday related to Model 3 reservations and capital requirements.
"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 on Friday.
"HyperChange represented actual investors, so I switched to them," he wrote. On the call, he devoted 23 minutes to 25-year-old Tesla investor Galileo Russell, who runs HyperChange TV.
At least three brokerages cut price targets on the stock following the call.