Tesla shares (NASDAQ:TSLA) are rising on Wednesday’s intraday, trading as high as $291.31 per share amid encouraging updates from analysts after a tour of Gigafactory 1, as well as seemingly improved investor sentiments over the company’s updates in management.
Tesla shares took a big blow last Friday amidst reports of former Chief Accounting Officer David H. Morton’s departure from the company after being on the job for just two months. Chief People Officer Gabrielle Toledano also announced that she would not be returning to the company after her ongoing leave. On top of this, CEO Elon Musk courted controversy once more after he seemingly smoked cannabis during a podcast with comedian Joe Rogan.
Amidst the noise from the latest executive departures and Elon Musk’s most recent controversy, Tesla stock saw some recovery on Monday. Baird analyst Ben Kallo, for one, gave the company a “Buy” rating over what he believed were the company’s improving fundamentals this Q3. Kallo also noted that last Friday’s sharp decline in Tesla stock’s price seemed to be a “mispricing.”
Tuesday saw the release of a note from Worm Capital analysts Eric Markowitz and Dan Crowley, who recently went on a tour of Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. The analysts’ note included several compelling updates from Martin Viecha, head of Tesla’s investor relations, who answered questions about the company’s battery tech, its software, and its upcoming vehicles. Viecha, for one, noted that Tesla is on track to achieve a battery cell cost of $100 per kWh by the end of the year, provided that commodity prices remain stable. The Tesla head of investor relations also stated that Tesla would be receiving machines from Grohmann Engineering which would aid the company in producing batteries more quickly and cost-effectively. Updates for the Tesla Semi and the $35,000 base Model 3 were also given.
While the encouraging updates from the Worm Capital analysts were noteworthy, investor sentiments appear to be improving for Tesla as well, particularly after it was announced that longtime problem-solver Jerome Guillen would now be serving as the company’s Head of Automotive, reporting directly to Elon Musk. Guillen is among the most hands-on of Tesla’s longtime executives, known for personally responding to early customers of the Model S during the vehicle’s initial rollout. Guillen appears to be a perfect fit for Tesla’s electric car business, and his promotion could serve as a reassurance for investors regarding Elon Musk being overstretched by his workload and responsibilities in the company.
Wednesday also saw the rather underwhelming IPO of NIO, a highly-anticipated Tesla rival from China. NIO is among the electric car makers that are expected to provide competition to Tesla, to the point where the company’s CEO is fondly dubbed as “The Elon Musk of China.” Among NIO’s first entries into the electric car segment is the ES8, a pure-electric, seven-seater SUV that is seen as a potential rival to the Tesla Model X.
A person familiar with the company’s IPO proceedings informed Reuters that NIO had initially hoped for a valuation of as much as $20 billion. Unfortunately for the company, the ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China, as well as its ongoing cash burn as it attempted to ramp the ES8’s production, weighed down the electric car maker’s IPO. NIO ultimately priced its shares at $6.26, just above the low end of its $6.25-$8.25 target price range. The company sold $1 billion in shares in the IPO, which still made it the third-largest US listing by a Chinese company this 2018.
Similar to Tesla, NIO incurred a significant net loss during the first half of the year, with the company incurring a net loss of $502.6 million on $6.95 million in revenues in the first six months of 2018. NIO noted that as of the end of August, it had delivered about 1,600 units of the ES8, and it still had another 15,778 unfulfilled reservations for the vehicle.
As of writing, Tesla shares are up 3.3% at $288.66 per share.
Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.