How Tesla Showed Us Computers are Not Good at Jokes

Newfound Research  |

Just before market close on April 1st, an entry titled “Announcing the Tesla Model W” was posted to Tesla’s (TSLA) official blog. The text read:

"PALO ALTO, Calif., April 1, 2015 – Tesla today announced a whole new product line called the Model W. As many in the media predicted, it's a watch. That's what the "W" stands for.

This incredible new device from Tesla doesn't just tell the time, it also tells the date. What's more, it is infinitely adjustable, able to tell the time no matter where you are on Earth. Japan, Timbuktu, California, anywhere! This will change your life. Reality as you know it will never be the same.

Studies have shown the Model W will dramatically improve your health. If you work out. And it's available in platinum!

No longer will you need to rudely examine your phone to read text messages. Now you can politely stare at the tiny screen on your wrist without anyone noticing.

This is in no way a competitive response to what some other company is doing."

Shenanigans in the tech space on April Fools’ Day is nothing new. What is new is that the post was picked up by Reuters and other news outlets, who seemed to assume, from the title, that Tesla was announcing a new car.

And that’s when the bots jumped in. There are firms that run automated trading systems focused on scraping news articles, interpreting them via neuro-linguistic programming, and trying to speed to market and trade based on the sentiment of the article.

Tesla announcing a new vehicle model was assumed to be a good thing. Except Tesla was actually just making a joke – likely jabbing at the fact that Apple (AAPL) seems to be toying with the idea of an electric car. Computers don’t seem to be so good with jokes.

More than 400,000 shares of Tesla stock traded within 60 seconds of the blog post going live, popping the price up by $1.50 and increasing the total market capitalization of the company by $185mm.

By the closing bell, the price had receded, order was restored.

We’re sure there are some automated traders who didn’t find this joke to be too funny.

In Our Models

We rebalanced our Risk Managed U.S. Sectors and our Tailwinds Moderate portfolios this week.

Risk Managed U.S. Sectors was rebalanced to reflect the negative momentum our models have identified within the utilities sector. Currently, both energy and utilities have negative momentum signals while the remaining 7 sectors continue to exhibit positive momentum characteristics.

The rebalance in Tailwinds Moderate was triggered due to last week’s changes in Multi-Asset Income as well as the model update that occurred in Dynamic Alternatives at month end. These smaller sleeve changes were enough, in aggregate, to trigger a portfolio rebalance.


ETF 03/27/2015
to 4/2015
to 03/31/2015
to 03/31/2015
1-3 Year U.S. Treasuries SHY 0.11% 0.25% 0.58% 0.62%
7-10 Year U.S. Treasuries IEF 0.44% 0.86% 2.60% 2.79%
20+ Year U.S. Treasuries TLT -0.05% 1.09% 4.20% 4.45%
Barclay's U.S. Aggregate AGG 0.41% 0.38% 1.52% 1.71%
Corporate Bonds LQD 0.48% 0.20% 2.47% 2.60%
High Yield Bonds HYG 0.44% -0.96% 1.97% 2.26%
S&P 500 SPY 0.34% -1.57% 0.88% 0.88%
Russell 2000 IWM 1.26% 1.77% 4.28% 4.52%
MSCI ACWI ACWI 0.73% -1.46% 2.60% 3.52%
MSCI EAFE EFA 0.08% -1.43% 5.47% 7.15%
MSCI EEM EEM 4.51% -1.50% 2.14% 4.96%
Commodities DBC 0.64% -6.05% -7.48% -6.29%
Gold GLD 0.19% -2.15% 0.07% 1.50%
U.S. REITs VNQ 1.16% 1.74% 4.71% 5.35%
International REITs VNQI 0.79% -1.18% 5.18% 6.90%
Global Conservative AOK 0.27% 0.18% 1.48% 1.51%
Global Moderate AOM -0.03% -0.22% 1.34% 1.45%
Global Aggressive AOA 0.32% -0.79% 2.64% 3.05%


DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:


Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
TSLA Tesla Motors Inc. 260.00 -3.91 -1.48 9,375,549 Trade
AAPL Apple Inc. 219.31 3.29 1.52 33,078,726 Trade


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