Investor's Corner

Tesla Shorts come out just in time for Summer

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Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) shorts are coming out, and their vocal stances against the electric automaker are just in time for Summer. Temperatures are rising, so naturally, the shorts are appearing from thin air, just as Tesla’s momentum is building to finish out the second quarter of 2020.

The market will always have those looking to capitalize on a successful company’s downfall. The problem is, Tesla is not experiencing a downfall, nor is it experiencing any issues that really have to do with the automaker’s integrity as a company. Tesla is experiencing some critiques with some problems within the vehicle’s touchscreens, and some subjective opinions regarding build quality, but is that really enough to derail the momentum that the company has compounded over the past 6 months?

In my opinion, no.

However, there are a series of financial analysts who claim that TSLA is going to fall from grace, and its $1,000 stock price, which fluctuates day-to-day, will be a short-lived phenomenon that cannot hold. The analysts claim that Tesla is merely another hot car company with a fun business model and new technology, and that’s what is making it successful. However, these analysts fail to realize that Tesla is much bigger than just a company that builds sustainable cars. It is an entire tech business, focused on vehicles, energy, and sustainability, and the $1,000 stock price it holds is wholly justified.

A name that may be familiar to the TSLA stockholders is Adam Jonas. The Morgan Stanley analyst has been a notorious TSLA critic, who has continued to revise his price targets and ratings for the stock. Jonas’ current stock advice for TSLA is a $650 PT with a “Sell” position.

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While Jonas does recognize Tesla as a “tech” company and not just an automaker, his most recent note to investors indicated that the company holds a series of increased risks because “proven/mature companies” have a lesser degree of execution risk.

It is pretty interesting to hear someone who follows Tesla firmly suggest that the company isn’t proven. The automotive side of Tesla may be young with only twelve years of car sales, but it’s more than proven because everything that Elon Musk has said has become a reality.

It goes all the way back to Tesla’s Master Plan. Make an expensive car, use that money to build a cheaper car, and then use that money to create an even cheaper car.

2008 Roadster > Tesla Model S/X > Tesla Model 3

It is all right there. We could break it down further by talking about Elon Musk’s goal of building world-class automobiles that operate in an environmentally-friendly fashion that aren’t “slow and boring” as he once referred to previous battery-powered machines.

It is more than proven that Tesla is reliable, or mature, even though its a young company. It has repeatedly dug itself out of holes, built upon weaknesses, and risen from the dead in times where it really seemed like things wouldn’t pick back up. For a refresher, watch a documentary called “Revenge of the Electric Car.”

Another analyst is Gordon Johnson, the founder of GLJ Research. In an interview with BenzingaJohnson talked about his stance on TSLA, which he said, “couldn’t be more bearish.”

Johnson points to Tesla’s lineup of vehicles as the indicator of why he feels the company isn’t an excellent pick for investing.

“Initially it was the S and the X that were going to dominate in the luxury market. That didn’t happen. Then it was going to be the Model 3, which was their mass-market car, which took them to profitability. That didn’t happen. Then it was the Model Y, right? They won’t even tell you what orders are on the Model Y.”

Tesla is coming off of three straight profitable quarters. Q3 and Q4 2019 were both profitable, and Q1 2020 was the first time in company history that the company was profitable in the first three months of the year. The Model Y didn’t begin deliveries until March, so the Model 3, while it did have some non-profitable quarters, led the company to three straight profits over the last three quarters.

As far as the S and X, electric cars were somewhat taboo when both of those vehicles were released. It wasn’t a huge market like it is today, and it was Tesla’s first real attempt at creating an everyday car. While I think Johnson has a point, the S and the X still manage to be a central part of Tesla’s fleet today, constantly receiving updates for performance and battery tech through software upgrades.

But Johnson turned his sights onto the Cybertruck. Claiming the $50 deposit (which is actually $100) is just a ploy to obtain high preorder numbers, he doesn’t even think the car is street legal. This is interesting considering it has traveled on public roads several times, and the IIHS is considering a “no side mirrors” law that would allow the Cybertruck to keep its current design.

Then Johnson mentioned the Semi. “It’s almost like the Tesla Semi,” he said, comparing the commercial vehicle to the Cybertruck. “…Where they were taking preorders for $100,000 three years ago, and they still haven’t made the car.”

The issue with this is, the Semi has always been in the plans. Yes, it wasn’t in production, but it is about to begin its first volume phase in Fremont. The issue was battery production shortages, which evidently no longer seem to be an issue because of Musk’s indication regarding the Semi’s imminent production. It isn’t like Tesla would keep the money from preorders if they scrapped the Semi plans.

Analysts are entitled to their opinions, of course. But there needs to be more education regarding their decisions, in my opinion. There is a lot of proof that Tesla is doing a lot of great things, and it starts with recognizing the mission that the company has set out to achieve. No automaker is perfect, and Tesla never claimed to be. It has had its problems just like any other car company, and it will work through them. Touchscreens fail, batteries need a replacement, tires need patching every now and again. But these issues aren’t exclusive to Tesla, they happen to every manufacturer’s cars at some point or another.

Temperatures are rising, the A/C is cranked up, and the Shorts are out. It’s Summertime, ladies, and gentlemen.

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

Tesla Shorts come out just in time for Summer
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