Tesla shares take a couple of hits

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Tesla Motors shares were lower Thursday amid a new legislative setback in its efforts to sell cars directly to consumers and a note from a leading analyst suggesting the debut of its Model X could be delayed.

Shares of Tesla (TSLA), which have risen more than 50% this year through Wednesday's close, were down about 2% in early trading.

Tesla does not currently have a store or showroom in Michigan, making the home turf of rivals General Motors (GM), Ford Motor (F) and Chrysler Group (FCAU) the largest state in which it does not have an outlet.

Tesla has repeatedly argued it needs to be able to sell cars directly to consumers in order to explain the advantages of electric cars. But the National Automobile Dealers Association and various state dealer groups have fought those company-owned stores, arguing that independently owned dealerships provide a level of protection for car buyers.

The Michigan state legislature overwhelmingly passed the change in the law with little debate or public comment on Oct. 2. But language prohibiting automakers from owning a dealership was quietly inserted as it moved though the process. The news of that provision broke Monday as the bill sat on Gov. Rick Snyder's desk awaiting action.

Neither Snyder's office nor Tesla had an immediate comment on the measure.

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Also putting downward pressure on Tesla stock is a note from Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas speculating that the Model X crossover vehicle, now due out in the second quarter of 2015, is unlikely to be available until the third quarter. Jonas said Tesla's announcement last week that it is now offering all-wheel drive on the Model S suggests it might want to wait to introduce the Model X, which also has all-wheel drive.

Jonas says Tesla was sticking with the second-quarter launch target for the Model X as recently as a month ago. He remains bullish on Tesla shares and suggested investors consider buying on the current dip.

But his reputation as a fan of Tesla has meant when he's expressed any caution about Tesla shares, it has sparked sell-offs in the stock.

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