Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) came roaring back on Tuesday’s early morning trading, bouncing as high as $434.54 per share amid news of an upgrade from Wall Street. In a recent note, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas upgraded Tesla from “Underperform” to “Equal-Weight,” while putting a $460 per share price target for the electric car maker’s stock.
In their note, Jonas and his fellow analysts stated that their long-term model on Tesla remains intact despite the ongoing disruption of the coronavirus, which has affected the global markets and has forced automakers to cut production. Tesla is reportedly operating its main Fremont factory at just 25% capacity as per reports from BuzzFeed News, citing a spokesperson from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
Apart from acknowledging the effects of the COVID-19 virus, the Morgan Stanley analysts also updated their fiscal 2020 delivery forecasts to include about one month of lost production at the Fremont factory. Thus, Jonas updated Morgan Stanley’s forecast for Tesla to 420,000 vehicles this year, about 7% lower than its initial 450,000-vehicle estimate for 2020.
Jonas also highlighted that Tesla is currently at a strong financial standing to weather the headwinds from the coronavirus outbreak. This is something that was strengthened by Tesla back in February, when the company decided to raise an additional $2.3 billion in an investment round. “We believe Tesla has sufficient liquidity and access to capital during this time,” Jonas wrote in his note.
So far, Tesla investors appear to have appreciated Morgan Stanley’s upgrade. During the opening bell, TSLA stock showed a lot of strength, climbing as high as 18%. Tesla shares are up about 36% in the last 12 months, beating the S&P 500, which has fallen about 15%.
Jonas’ TSLA upgrade comes at a time when Tesla’s over $8 billion in cash is looking more and more like a valuable asset for the company. This is notably evident as other automakers have started hinting at challenges that are to come.
In a recent update, for example, Ford announced that it would be suspending its dividends to shareholders as a way to preserve cash and financial flexibility. But this is not all. Ford also revealed other measures that would allow the company to stay afloat amidst the coronavirus pandemic, including fully drawing on the company’s credit lines to provide $15.4 billion of additional cash. Ford has withdrawn its 2020 financial guidance as well.
As of writing, TSLA stock is trading +11.85% at $404.02 per share.
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.