As Elon Musk continued to court one controversy after another amid his tenure as Twitter’s head, the sentiments of Wall Street surrounding EV maker Tesla appears to have become quite split. This was particularly noticeable for Oppenheimer and Deutsche Bank, with the former downgrading TSLA stock and the latter maintaining a bullish stance on the EV maker.
In a note to clients on Monday, Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch downgraded Tesla shares from “Outperform” to “Perform.” The analyst directly cited Musk’s Twitter activities in his note, stating that the CEO’s challenges regarding the social media company have left sentiments toward Tesla shares “severely damaged.” Rusch may have a point, considering that since Musk took ownership of Twitter in late October, TSLA shares have been down by about 30%.
“The combination of Twitter’s unclear cash needs and diminishing options for Mr. Musk to serve those needs amid the broad public backlash driven by inconsistent standards application for Twitter users, notably banning select journalists, is pushing us to the sidelines on TSLA. We believe increasing negative sentiment on Twitter could linger long term, limiting its financial performance and become an ongoing overhang on TSLA.
“We see potential for a negative feedback loop from departures of Twitter advertisers and users due to inconsistent standards resulting in increased financing needs that may lead to incremental TSLA sales just as Tesla’s competitive environment intensifies,” the analyst noted.
Analysts from Deutsche Bank, on the other hand, noted on Monday that they were maintaining a “Buy” rating and a $355 price target for TSLA shares. Unlike Oppenheimer, which seemed to focus on Musk’s Twitter issues, Deutsche Bank analysts seemed to focus mostly on Tesla itself, such as the opportunities presented by the Inflation Reduction Act and the EV maker’s upcoming programs.
“Tesla expects IRA to constitute a meaningful tailwind for the company, starting January 1. The company believes most of its US vehicles should qualify for the full $7,500 consumer tax credit, and Tesla will also receive large incentives from its battery manufacturing in the US. The manufacturing piece should amount to $45/kWh for the battery cells and packs made in-house (10 GWh capacity from pilot line in Fremont, and ramping up Austin capacity as fast as possible), and we think a piece of it could be shared with Panasonic for the batteries made by the collaboration in Nevada (there’s no JV).
“Tesla is particularly focused on its ‘game-changing’ next-generation platform which, in our view, should support multiple other vehicles and segments, as well as robotaxis, and targeting $20k COGS/vehicle; development is advanced, and targeted SOP is 2024,” the analysts noted.
Disclosure: I am long TSLA.
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