Investor's Corner

Oppenheimer raises Tesla (TSLA) price target to $418 amid Q4’s positive Model 3 outlook

Wall Street’s sentiments towards Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) continues to get more positive, with Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch reiterating an “Outperform” rating on the company while raising his price target to $418 per share. Oppenheimer’s update comes amidst Tesla’s ongoing rally, which features the stock nearing levels close to its 52-week high of $387.46.

In a recent note to clients, Rusch stated that the drama surrounding Tesla and its CEO over the past few months seems to be all but over. This, according to the Wall Street analyst, places Tesla’s improving fundamentals front and center. Pushed by an even more optimized Model 3 ramp and weak competition from rival carmakers, Rusch notes that the next quarters could prove to be even better for the electric car maker.

“After a drama-filled fall that concluded with a settlement with SEC and a new board chair, we believe TSLA is enjoying improving fundamentals based on increasingly efficient manufacturing, strong ASPs leading to better than expected cash flow, as well as slow and disappointing competition entering the market for EV/ PHEVs,” Rusch said.

The Oppenheimer analyst notes that Tesla seems poised to top Wall Street estimates for 66,000 Model 3 production in the fourth quarter. Rusch also stated that Model 3 gross margins might potentially rise into the low 20% range this Q4.

“We believe as TSLA delivers steady cash flow, a new group of investors will begin taking positions, helping drive shares higher. We are looking to solid Model 3 deliveries and GM plus announcement of China factory financing as catalysts into early 2019,” he said.

Oppenheimer’s Outperform rating and $418 price target on Tesla stock seems to have fostered positive sentiment among the company’s investors. As of writing, Tesla shares are largely maintaining their gains, trading +0.20% at $367.50 per share.

Tesla has received several votes of confidence from Wall Street recently. This month alone, the company received a price target of $420 per share from CFRA, an independent investment research company, as well as a “Buy” rating and $450 price target from Jefferies Financial Group. Piper Jaffray further noted that if Tesla maintains its momentum, the company could very well find itself within striking distance of a short squeeze. All of these firms have mentioned Tesla’s improving fundamentals as a driver for their optimistic outlook on the electric car maker.

Tesla’s core businesses are expected to see a notable improvement in the coming quarters, with Elon Musk stating that the company would be focusing on the introduction of projects like the Model Y SUV and the Tesla pickup truck, as well as the wide rollout of products like the Solar Roof tiles. The Model 3’s entrance into the international markets is also expected to bode well for the company.

In a way, the current optimism surrounding Tesla’s stock could be summarized by the comments of Pierre Ferragu of New Street Research, who recently took a tour of the Fremont factory. In a note to the firm’s clients, Ferragu described Tesla’s Model 3 ramp as a learning experience for the company — one which bodes well for Tesla’s future endeavors.

“By shooting way too high, Tesla failed on its original plan, but achieved a world-class result. The next production sites will be much more efficient, and will ramp very rapidly,” he said.

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

Oppenheimer raises Tesla (TSLA) price target to $418 amid Q4’s positive Model 3 outlook
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