Tesla’s huge price cuts are hitting the stock one way and its outlook in another

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) pushed huge price cuts on its vehicles in both the United States and China within the past few weeks, but the automaker’s decision is hitting the stock in one way and its outlook in another.

After the Austin-based automaker slashed prices by as much as $13,000 in the United States and 13.5 percent in China, speculation persisted that Tesla was making the move to combat demand declines. However, the moves, whether made by Tesla to spike demand or for other reasons, have provided a significant spike in the automaker’s registrations in China.

Additionally, Tesla’s inventory in the United States has more than halved since the company announced the price cuts on January 12.

The news of Tesla registrations in China, along with other potential catalysts, like what appears to be an imminent deal with Indonesia for an EV production plant, has the stock up nearly 5 percent on Tuesday morning. After a tough 2022, Tesla stock has rebounded 18.6 percent so far this year.

However, the price cuts across several markets did not bode well for its outlook from many analysts.

Jefferies analyst Phillipe Houchois cut the firm’s price target on Tesla stock from $350 to $180, citing a potential regression in earnings potential. The analyst said rebasing earnings is “painful,” but the move shows Tesla has more levers to pull than other OEMs to trigger demand.

Tesla’s operating margin is currently third among all global automakers, trailing only Ferrari and BMW.

Additionally, Bank of America cut its price target to $130 from $135, citing increased competition and softening demand:

“In our view, the rationale for lowering prices could reflect the following: 1) Increasing competition with a flood of new EV models; 2) Weakening auto demand amidst the difficult macro backdrop; 3) Strategy to crowd out completion as capacity is ramping up across the industry; 4) Effort to qualify vehicles for Inflation Reduction Act tax credits as base prices for the Model Y and Model 3 in the US are now below the required MSRP thresholds; 5) Opening up the lower end of the market to drive volume growth.”

More automakers are bringing more EVs to the market, and while Tesla is experiencing increased demand due to more EV models, it is still the tried-and-true leader of the sector. Tesla led several markets in EV sales by manufacturer, including the United States and Germany.

Despite the stock going one way and analyst sentiments going another, Tesla is set to deliver several new products in 2023, including the long-awaited Cybertruck. The company is also expected to shed more light on its next-generation platform during its 2023 Investor Day in March.

Tesla shares were trading at $129.39, up 5.71 percent, at 11:40 on the East Coast.

Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder.

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Tesla’s huge price cuts are hitting the stock one way and its outlook in another
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