Investor's Corner

Tesla faces ‘excessive’ negativity, but analysts see silver lining for Model 3 deliveries

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) might be facing a lot of negativity from its skeptics recently over concerns about the Model 3’s demand this quarter, but some TSLA bulls are seeing a silver lining. In a note published on Thursday, Baird analysts stated that the overly negative sentiments against the company today could play in the electric car maker’s favor when it releases its Q1 2019 vehicle delivery and production report.

The Baird analysts noted that even if Tesla’s deliveries fall below expectations for the first quarter, the bearish news is already priced in on TSLA’s current stock price. This could work as a “de-risking event” for the electric car maker’s shares, which could result in TSLA stock being driven higher following the company’s announcement.

“We are buyers into the release as we believe weak deliveries are priced into the stock and think the report could be a de-risking event. Management could provide an update on demand/backlog, which we believe would be positive for the stock. We think overly negative sentiment on demand could improve following the announcement, which should drive shares higher,” the analyst wrote.

Baird has a conservative estimate for Model 3 deliveries for the first quarter. The analysts expect Tesla to deliver 50,000 Model 3 in Q1, slightly below market expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet are estimating that Tesla will deliver a total of 77,000 vehicles in the first quarter, 55,000 of which are Model 3.

The observations of the Baird analysts mirror those of Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois, who observed in a note on Wednesday that there seems to be an “excessive” amount of negative media coverage against Tesla lately. In his note, Houchois stated that he expects a “modest” $50 million loss before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization in Q1, and that he sees a “high probability that Tesla can remain self-funded in the course of 2019.” The Jefferies analyst added that Tesla’s shares had gotten back to support levels that were last tested over the course of 2018, before the company started demonstrating its capability to turn a profit and exhibit a positive free cash flow.

The big question that will likely determine the performance of Tesla stock over the next few weeks is the number of Model 3 deliveries that the company has achieved this first quarter, which represents the first time that the electric sedan was delivered to foreign territories. While it is expected that deliveries in the United States will likely be down due to the Model 3’s international push, the numbers from Europe and China will determine if Tesla’s strategy is working or not.

As of writing, Tesla shares are trading +0.71% at $276.78.

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

Tesla faces ‘excessive’ negativity, but analysts see silver lining for Model 3 deliveries
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