Billionaire investor Ron Baron raised eyebrows in the past when he predicted that Tesla [NASDAQ: TSLA] stock could hit $1,000 by 2020. However, following recent stock price declines amid concerns over Model 3 manufacturing bottlenecks and reports of supplier constraints, Baron’s Alex Umansky still maintains a positive outlook for the Silicon Valley-based electric car maker.
“In today’s market environment, everyone is trigger happy because we are bombarded with information,” says Umansky. The star fund manager thinks long-term, emphasizing a patient investing approach. “It becomes very difficult for investors to do nothing.” Umansky points to Amazon and Tesla as stocks that require patience and a buy-and-hold investing strategy.
Can slow-and-steady investing win the race? Despite the doubts that crop up around Tesla, Umansky and Baron remain big fans in the company and see Tesla as nothing less than a reincarnation of Amazon. “Tesla is in the early stages of being the game changer in cars that Amazon.com was in retail years ago.” notes Marketwatch. As the Oracle of Omaha, “Warren Buffett loves to say, doing nothing is often the best thing. Or as Umansky puts it: ‘You have to be patient because greatness takes time.’ It took years for Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos to prove his sacrifice of near-term profits to invest for long-term gains made sense. Or for him to develop the credibility he now has among investors. So Umansky’s time horizon on stocks is five years or more.”
Looking at Amazon, “They spend more in cloud computing research and development than their closest competitor has in revenue” in the space, says Umansky. He also sees Tesla’s hefty R&D investments reaping rewards over the long-term. “Tesla is much more than just a pioneer in electric cars. Tesla may ultimately be the leader in ‘clean, autonomous, shared mobility,’ predicts Umanksy. ‘They could have the largest network of self-driving cars, which can easily replicate what Uber does.'”
Baron Funds most recent investor letter also emphasizes the importance of investing in strong management. Umansky agrees: “Part of his conviction stems from meetings with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Like Bezos, Musk has an enthusiasm for thinking big, investing for the long term and continually experimenting with ideas to find the ones that work.”
Others on Wall Street have also noted parallels between Tesla and Amazon. But, at the end of the day, Umansky admits to being “swayed by his own test driving of Tesla cars, something he encourages investors to do. ‘The product is so vastly superior,’ says Umanksy. Here, he takes a page from the book of another investor great, Peter Lynch, who as a fund manager at Fidelity urged investors to invest in companies that make products they know and like.”
Note: Article originally published on evannex.com, by Matt Pressman