New York CNN  — 

Tesla has cut the prices of its EVs repeatedly this year. Now investors are cutting the price of its shares.

Shares of Tesla tumbled nearly 10% Thursday following its disappointing earnings report on Wednesday evening, as it reported that its profit margins fell below the 20% mark that analysts had been forecasting. The price cuts might have allowed it to increase sales volume, but revenue was down from fourth-quarter levels as a result, and which led to the squeeze on profits.

The company announced its latest price cut, its sixth of the year, just earlier this week. CEO Elon Musk told investors on the call that the company was aiming to keep sales volume growing, even at the cost of formerly lofty profit margins.

“We’ve taken a view that pushing for higher volumes and a larger fleet is the right choice here versus a lower volume and higher margin,” said Musk.

And he suggested the lower prices were necessary to combat headwinds such as economic uncertainty and rising interest rate costs.

“Every time the Fed raises the interest rates, that’s equivalent to increasing the price of a car,” said Musk.

Tesla’s profit margins are still well ahead of those of traditional automakers. But the company’s refusal to give any guidance on where its profit margins might go from here only fed investor concerns. Thursday’s nearly 10% drop was its second worst day of the year.

Tesla shares had their worst year on record in 2022, losing 65% of its value. It started this year reversing much of that decline, as the share price climbed 74% through February 15. But it’s been a struggle for the company’s stock ever since. Shares are down 24% since that February peak, with most of that loss coming in the last three weeks — during which shares have lost 21% of their value.

Analysts are still optimistic for Tesla’s financial future. The median 12-month price target stands at $200, which would be up 23% from the current price after Thursday’s plunge. But the analysts aren’t as optimistic as they were going into Wednesday’s earnings report. There were 10 analysts who cut their price targets for Tesla on Thursday, by an average of $19.

Some of those analysts reiterated their “buy” recommendations for the stock, even with the slightly lower targets.

“We expect Tesla stock to remain under some pressure in the current macro environment,” said Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rosner in a note to clients. “But we still believe that the long term upside thesis is intact.” He retained his buy recommendation.

But the analysts who are bears on the stock insist that Tesla is being forced to cut prices by weaker demand than it is admitting to.

“I don’t think he’s cutting prices to make the cars more affordable,” said Gordon Johnson, one of Tesla’s harshest critics. He pointed out that for the last four quarters Tesla has built more cars than it’s sold to customers. He said the valuation of the stock is assuming a level of growth it is no longer achieving.