Tesla plunges another 5 percent on fears of Model 3 delays

FILE PHOTO - A Tesla logo is seen on media day at the Paris auto show, in Paris, France, September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Shares of Tesla TSLA.O dropped on Monday after a downgrade by Goldman Sachs, bringing the electric carmaker's decline to 11 percent since its quarterly report last week stoked worries about how much cash it is using to launch its Model 3 sedan.

Concerns that Tesla’s Model 3 production this year might be delayed, as well as expectations the company will sell stock to raise $1.7 billion, led Goldman Sachs analyst David Tamberrino to downgrade Tesla to “sell” from “neutral”.

That helped push the stock down 4.83 percent to $244.52 in morning trade on Monday. If it closes at that level, it will have been the worst three-day performance for the shares since June last year.

Even with the recent drop, Tesla has surged more than 30 percent since early December and is up 14 percent in 2017.

Tesla has traded between $180 and $280 in recent years, and after hitting 2015 highs earlier this month, it may be headed toward the bottom of that range, Tamberrino wrote in a note to clients.

Tesla investors and short sellers disagree about whether the company will become a carbon-free energy and transportation heavyweight or be overtaken first by older, deep-pocketed manufacturers such as General Motors Co GM.N.

Seven analysts recommend selling Tesla’s shares, while six recommend buying and seven have neutral ratings. Few stocks on Wall Street attract more “sell” than “buy” ratings.

Last May, Goldman Sachs’s previous Tesla analyst, Patrick Archambault, raised his rating on Tesla to “buy” from “neutral” hours before the bank helped launch a secondary stock offer for the company.

The timing of the two events attracted attention on Wall Street because banks are required to keep their underwriting activities separate from their broker research.

Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Alan Crosby