How to buy Tesla shares (TSLA)

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Tesla Inc (TSLA) - Quarterly Update, 26 January 2023

Tesla Inc designs, develops, manufactures, leases and sells fully electric vehicles and energy generation and storage systems as well as offering services related to its products.

The company produces and sells the Model Y, Model 3, Model X, Model S, Cybertruck, Tesla Semi and Tesla Roadster vehicles. It also installs and maintains energy systems, sells solar electricity, and offers energy products for generation, storage and consumption.

Tesla markets and sells vehicles to consumers through a network of company-owned stores and showrooms. The company has manufacturing facilities in the US, Germany and China and has operations across Asia Pacific and Europe.

Tesla’s chief executive officer is Elon Musk who, in 2022, also became owner and CEO of Twitter, the microblogging platform. Mr Musk is also founder, CEO and chief engineer of SpaceX, the rocket design and manufacturing company maker.

These are Tesla’s performance figures from the final quarter of last year, published on 25 January 2023:

·   Q4 2022 revenue at $24.3 billion, up 37% year-on-year

·   Net income up 59% to $3.69 billion

·   Q4 car delivery at a record 405,278, up 31% on 2021

·   Automotive gross profit margin fell to 25.9% from 30.6% in Q4 2021

·   Company committed to cost-cutting in face of slowing economy

Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about buying and selling Tesla shares.

Investing in share-based investments can be a good way to produce higher returns than cash-based investments. However, your capital is at risk, your investment can go down as well as up, and you may not get your money back. If you are unsure as to the right investment, you should seek financial advice.

How to buy Tesla shares

Before you decide to open an account, you should set your investment goals, including the amount you wish to invest, the length of time you plan to invest for, whether you are comfortable with the risks involved and whether you can afford to lose some, or all, of the money.

If you are looking to buy Tesla shares, the following steps will guide you through the process:

1. Open a trading account

Whether you’re an experienced share trader, or a beginner, you’ll need to open an account with a trading platform.

It’s worth taking the time to review the costs involved - most, but not all, platforms charge a share trading fee and some may also charge an annual platform fee for holding shares.

There are a variety of trading platforms available, from online DIY platforms such as Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell and interactive investor, to app-based platforms such as eToro and Trading212.

2. Where is Tesla traded?

The ticker symbol for Tesla Inc is TSLA. Tesla is traded on the technology-focused Nasdaq exchange in the US which is open for trading from 9.30am to 4pm (Eastern time) from Monday to Friday.

Most trading platforms allow you to purchase US shares. You will be charged a foreign exchange fee (typically around 1%, but may range from 0.15% to 1.5% depending on your platform). Many platforms also charge a slightly higher trading fee for buying US shares.

If you plan to trade US shares regularly, it’s worth looking at the best trading platforms as their fees can vary significantly. A small number of trading platforms, such as IG, allow you to hold your account in US dollars which may reduce the foreign exchange you have to pay.

You will be requested to complete a W-8BEN form which allows you to benefit from a reduction in withholding tax from 30% to 15% for qualifying US dividends and interest.

You will also have a foreign exchange exposure if you hold US shares. If the pound weakens against the dollar, your shares will be worth more in pounds sterling (and vice versa).

As with UK shares, any profit on US shares will be subject to Capital Gains Tax, subject to your annual allowance (currently £12,300). You will not have to pay Capital Gains Tax if you hold the shares in an Individual Savings Account or Self-Invested Personal Pension.

3. Do your research

To find out more about Tesla, visit the company’s investor relations page.

It’s also worth comparing Tesla’s valuation to other comparable electric vehicle manufacturers. One way is to look at the relative price-earnings ratios - shares trading on a high price-earnings ratio have high expectations of significant growth in the future.

Another useful research tool is brokers’ 12-month share price forecasts, which are available on financial websites. There are currently over 40 brokers following Tesla shares, and their price forecasts give an indication of the upside and downside risk of the Tesla share price over the next year.

4. Should you invest on a monthly basis or as a lump sum?

People tend to buy shares either as a lump sum purchase, or drip-feed their investment on a monthly basis over time.

Monthly investing is often referred to as a means of ‘pound cost averaging’, whereby making regular contributions helps to smooth out the highs and lows of the stock market. This provides some protection if the share price falls after you have bought shares, as you will effectively invest at the average share price over the whole period.

However, drip-feeding your investment may sacrifice capital growth if the share price is rising and you may also pay more in share trading fees.

5. Place your order

Once you’re ready to buy shares in Tesla, log in to your trading account. Type in the ticker symbol TSLA and the number of shares you want to buy, or the amount of money you want to invest.

Many platforms also allow you to add a ‘stop loss’ after you’ve bought the shares, which allows you to limit your losses if the share price falls. For example, if you buy shares at £100, and set a stop loss of £90, your shares would be sold if the share price falls below £90, limiting your potential loss to 10%.

6. Monitor Tesla’s performance

Whether you hold shares in just a few, or many, companies, you should review how your shares are performing on a regular basis.

Monitoring your portfolio allows you to make any necessary adjustments, whether buying additional shares, or selling part of your holding.

How to sell your Tesla shares

When you want to sell your Tesla shares, log in to your trading platform, type in the ticker symbol (TSLA) and select the number of shares you want to sell.

If you’ve made a profit, you may have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the sale of your shares. However, as mentioned earlier, this is not the case for tax-exempt wrappers such as Individual Savings Accounts.

How to invest in Tesla indirectly

You may make a profit if you invest in Tesla shares, however, holding shares in an individual company is higher risk than investing in a wide range of shares. A diversified portfolio should also reduce volatility.

One option is to invest indirectly in Tesla by investing in a fund, investment trust or exchange-traded fund (ETF) that holds Tesla shares, amongst others. These products provide a ready-made portfolio of shares in a number of different companies.

There is a wide range of options, including global and US funds and investment trusts, together with ETFs that track the S&P 500 index. However, you will pay an annual management fee for holding these products.