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Tesla stock bounces back despite Barclays’ $192 price target, Model 3 China worries

Tesla's Sparks, Nevada Gigafactory seen in April 2018. (Credit: Tesla)

Tesla shares (NASDAQ:TSLA) are bouncing back on despite Barclays analyst Brian Johnson lowering his price target for the company from $210 to $192 on Tuesday, representing a ~30% decrease from recent levels. The note from the analyst, together with news of Model 3 sales being temporarily halted by China’s customs due to incorrect labels on the vehicles, sent Tesla stock tumbling over 5% on Tuesday’s early morning trading. 

Tesla’s drop on Tuesday comes as yet another blow to the company, which has seen its stock experience a steep dive since announcing the $35,000 Model 3 last Thursday. The company’s shares continued its drop on Monday as skeptics of the company pushed the narrative that the demand for Tesla’s vehicles like the Model 3 is softer than expected and that its shift to an online-only sales model was a mistake. Johnson, who has kept an underweight rating on Tesla stock for the past three years, highlighted this point in his recent note to Barclays’ clients.  

“Much of the bull narrative has rested on Tesla being the next Apple, selling high-volume EVs at a premium price point and at high gross margins, in part aided by a unique branded retail presence–a narrative we see as undermined by the recent price cuts and closing of most stores,” the analyst wrote.

Tesla has dropped over 20% over the past three months. In comparison, the S&P 500 has gained 3.4%.

The recent headwinds being faced by Tesla stock are driven in great part by Elon Musk’s announcements last week when he noted that the company would be shifting to an online-only sales model. This will result in Tesla closing most of its retail stores, and another round of layoffs.

Skeptics have piled on to push a bearish narrative on the electric car maker’s recent updates and upcoming vehicle launches. Longtime Tesla skeptic Whitney Tilson, who previously called his short bet against the company as the “one of the biggest mistakes long or short of my investment career” (Tilson ended up closing his fund due partly due to his bet against Tesla) has emerged once more to declare that Tesla is “out of bullets.” In an emailed statement posted to ValueWalk, Tilson predicted that Tesla stock is going down to $100 per share.

“Today I’m making one of my rare big calls. We will look back on last Friday as the beginning of the end for Tesla’s stock. I think Musk has no more rabbits to pull out of his hat and therefore it’s all downhill from here. I predict that by the end of the year, the stock, today at $295, will be under $100. If Tesla had any positive card to play, they would have played it on Thursday afternoon in order to soften the blow. I think this means they are out of bullets,” he said.

Tesla is expected to hold a number of significant updates this month. Apart from the launch of the $35,000 Standard Model 3, the company is also expected to debut its first public Supercharger V3.0 this Wednesday. Next week, March 14, Tesla will hold the unveiling event for its highly-anticipated SUV, the Model Y.  

As of writing, Tesla stock is trading 2.32% at $278.74 per share.

Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.

Tesla stock bounces back despite Barclays’ $192 price target, Model 3 China worries
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