Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) recently received a “Buy” rating from Jefferies. Analyst Philippe Houchois noted that the upgraded rating was due to a predicted revenue growth for 2020, along with increased potential earnings and free cash flow. Jefferies previously rated the stock at “Hold.”
Houchois stated that Tesla’s productivity, stable average selling prices, and income from zero-emission vehicle credits helps the company’s steadily increasing earnings and cash flow. However, Houchois decreased his price target for TSLA stock from $800 to $650 per share.
Houchois has held polarizing views with TSLA stock in the past. In September 2018, he stated Tesla must search for a new leadership skill set for its “next phase.” But despite Houchois’ recommendations, Tesla has grown considerably since this comment, and it can attribute much of its success to its CEO Elon Musk. Houchois admits in his newest Investor’s Note for TSLA that the company is, “the only ‘legacy-free’ carmaker and is participating in ‘a positive EV sum-game.'”
TSLA has experienced one of the most momentum-built price increases on Wall Street in recent memory. The stock saw a meteoric rise following the release of its Q3 2019 earnings report, increasing in value by over $700 from October to February. TSLA capped out at $968.99 per share during trading hours on February 19 but fell after the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the world. The virus resulted in a halt in vehicle production at the company’s China production plant, Giga Shanghai, for an extended period after the Chinese New Year.
While production in China has restarted, Tesla was forced to close its production facility in Fremont, California, and its solar manufacturing plant in Buffalo, known as Giga New York. However, Houchois expects higher consumer support for sustainable vehicles after the COVID-19 crisis ends.
Houchois did not elaborate on why he believes energy-efficient vehicles will be at the forefront of consumer purchases after the C-19 pandemic subsides. The suggestion could be partly due to the reduced amount of carbon emissions in many large cities as a result of Stay-at-Home orders introduced by governments. Pictures from numerous mainstream media outlets suggest that the absence of gas-powered cars has cleared the air in many large cities like Los Angeles and Shanghai from excessive amounts of smog and pollution.
Tesla recently released its Q1 2020 delivery and production figures, exceeding Wall Street expectations by delivering 88,400 vehicles during the first three months of the new year. The company notes this as its biggest and most successful Q1 in company history. Even with the numerous plant shutdowns due to the current situation, Tesla exceeded expectations and showed positive Year-over-Year growth.
TSLA experienced a 6% jump in value during pre-market trading on April 6, increasing by $28.59 per share to a $480.01 value. At the time of writing, TSLA stock is up 4.40% and trading at $501.13.
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.