Tesla Inc.’s parabolic surge, which pushed shares above $900 Tuesday morning, led New Street Research analysts to downgrade the stock to neutral from buy in the midst of a 2020 rally that has doubled its value.
The group of analysts led by Pierre Ferragu think the stock is “still attractively valued for the long run,” with shares priced in the middle of the range for the group’s 2025 expectations. New Street highlighted “limited sources of further” stock appreciation over the next year as the reason behind the downgrade.
“We see 2020 playing out fine, but it is largely expected,” the analysts wrote in a research note. The group highlighted risks including a potential miss on gross margins for the first three months of 2020, and the launch of Tesla’s Model Y disrupting demand for its Model 3. They also cited the end of a squeeze on short investors, although short interest strategists have yet to call it a squeeze.
“Everyone is anticipating a dramatic Tesla short squeeze, but it is more likely to be a continuous slow decline in shares shorted rather than a sudden abrupt plunge,” S3 Partners analyst Ihor Dusaniwsky wrote in a research note. The company remains the largest short in the domestic market with more than $15.8 billion bet against it, Dusaniwsky’s research shows.
Tesla climbed 15% to $896 at 8:26 a.m. in New York. That sets the stock up to more than double its closing price from where it stood at $418.33 on Dec. 31.
It’s worth pointing out that Ferragu boosted the firm’s price target to $800 from $530 just last week after the company’s blowout quarterly earnings results. Despite the stock’s more than 110% rally this year, it remains one of the most divisive on Wall Street with nine analysts recommending investors buy shares compared to 10 hold ratings and 18 sell-equivalents. The stock has surged through the highest 12-month target on Wall Street with this morning’s more than 15% gain.
Ferragu expects Tesla to be worth between $1,100 and $1,700 a share by 2025 which translates to a $640 to $960 price at the start of next year. The Palo Alto, California-based company has seen shares boom over the last few months with the company’s market value surging to top $140 billion on Monday after starting the year worth $75 billion.
— Bailey Lipschultz and Joshua Fineman (Bloomberg)