elon muskElon Musk at SpaceX Hyperloop Pod II competition in Hawthorne, CaliforniaReuters/Mike Blake

  • Tesla has reliably produced an endless stream of bad news during the last year.
  • Investors haven’t cared, or haven’t cared for long.
  • That pattern will probably continue, short of Tesla threatening bankruptcy.

Tesla isn’t like other companies, and that’s both a good thing and a bad thing.

The good part is that Tesla never conducts business as usual and has been given credit even by Tesla shorts such as David Einhorn for turning vague notions of industry “disruption” into something that adds up to a $60-billion market cap.

The bad part will yet again hit home next week when Tesla reports third-quarter earnings. Analysts are expecting the biggest loss of the year, possibly more than $3 a share. Tesla has rarely made money, but even by its own standards, Q3 2017 will be impressively negative.

And even if Tesla loses less than expected, it will still lose a lot. 

Shares of the company have been sliding over the past month or so, after an epic run-up during the first half of the year that saw the stock briefly threaten $400 while surpassing the market caps of both Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. At one juncture, a company that sold fewer than 100,000 vehicles in 2016 put General Motors in the rear-view mirror.

So the big question for market-watchers next week will be: “Can Tesla’s stock laugh off another huge loss?”

In the past, the final quarter of the year has been a time when facts catch up with investor fantasy and Tesla’s momentum starts to flag, so it wouldn’t be surprising if shares weaken over the next two months after ascending well over 50% in 2017.

But it also wouldn’t be a shock if Tesla hangs in there. It’s endured its money-losing ways before. Here are some highlights.