Tesla is flirting with a key level ahead of earnings

Shares of Tesla were dancing between red and green Wednesday, near a key $300 resistance level, ahead of the company's first-quarter earnings results.

Analysts expect the electric-car maker to announce an adjusted loss of $3.42 per share on revenue of $3.32 billion when it reports after Wednesday's closing bell.Advertisement

Earlier Wednesday, Tesla was hit with a lawsuit from an aptly named competitor, Nikola Motor. The hydrogen-powered truck maker alleges Tesla stole certain patented design elements for its semi truck.

Tesla's stock price has faced a volatile year so far amid a slew of bad news including a fatal crash and resulting NTSB investigation, more reported production issues, and an exposé of dangerous factory floor conditions.

Pessimism on Wall Street has only been made worse by the company's ugly cash situation.

CEO Elon Musk has pledged Tesla will be profitable by the end of 2018, and has said the company won't need to raise any more cash. Wall Street doesn't agree.

Bloomberg News reported earlier this week that the company is burning through $6,500 every minute and could completely run out of money before the end of the year."We see the next three months as the most critical time in Tesla's history since the Model S launch six years ago," Adam Jonas, an autos analyst for Morgan Stanley said earlier this month. He believes Tesla may not "need" to raise funds, but may "want to" in order to keep investors happy.Advertisement

"The fundamental pendulum could move in either direction or in both directions in a big way, making Tesla the ultimate high-risk name in autos."

The options market is implying an 8% move following Wednesday's results, according to calculations by Bloomberg.

On the earnings call following the results, Musk plans to take a crowdsourced question from retail investors, an idea he received on Twitter. Normally executives stick to answering questions from Wall Street analysts, many of which are criticized for asking easier questions to ensure they can continue to be called on.Advertisement

Shares of Tesla have lost 7% since the beginning of the year.

Check back here after markets close for how the stock reacts to Tesla's earnings report.