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Tesla share prices bounced a bit today but red lights are still flashing about Tesla's ability to pay back a monstrous pile of debt.

So Forget the Stock, Watch the Bonds.

> $1.8 billion of Tesla bonds due in August 2025 plunged to a record low on Friday. The bonds traded for just 84 cents on the dollar, down from 98 cents a year ago. The yield, which moves opposite price, almost doubled over that span to 8.6%.

> "Tesla is in a cash pinch," Cowen & Co. analyst Jeffrey Osborne said in an interview. "The primary concern — above and beyond doing drugs and whatnot on podcasts — continues to be the ability of the company to generate cash."

> More than $9 billion of Tesla's debt is scheduled to mature before 2025, including a total of $2.7 billion this year and next, according to a Goldman Sachs research report that called the company's balance sheet "concerning."

> "We could raise money, but I think we don't need to, and I think it's better to just not," Musk said.

> It may no longer be up to Musk. Analysts say Tesla may struggle to raise cash until the dark cloud of an SEC investigation is lifted.

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TSLA 2025 Bonds Last Month

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Charts from Finra Markets.

Tesla bonds rallied a bit today as did share price, but if Musk has to raise money again after repeatedly promising he would not have to, the bonds and the stock will both be crushed.

Tesla will burn through its remaining cash quickly if it doesn't soon turn a profit, and outside of playing financial games, I highly doubt it will.

Disclosure: I am short Tesla via a set of staggered PUTs.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock