It’s been quite a year for Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Tesla stock, bouncing between a 52-week high of $389.61 and a $244.59 low, a massive $140 spread.
Traders must be loving Tesla stock.
In the first four months of 2018, TSLA traded above $350 on three occasions and below $300 on five, with the longest drought coming in late March when it lost 15% of its value in a matter of days only to recover equally as fast.
So, what I want to answer for readers today, is whether Elon Musk and company has shaken off Tesla’s share-price lethargy and will cross $400 before the end of the year or is the brilliant CEO about to get his comeuppance leading to a $200 stock price by year’s end?
I hate to ride the fence, but it could go either way with earnings on the docket after today’s close, so let me lay out the argument for both.
A $400 Tesla Stock
Yesterday, I laid out how Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP) could avoid its stock melting down: it had to crush earnings to demonstrate its fourth-quarter numbers weren’t a fluke.
It didn’t. SNAP stock is down 21% for the day as I write this. Not good.
In Tesla’s case, it’s not so much about how much money it’s losing — a lot — but rather the state of affairs with its Model 3 production levels.
If there’s a greater investor obsession at the moment than whether it will produce 5,000 or 6,000 or however many cars the analysts feel it needs to produce in a week to be successful financially; I haven’t seen it.
In early April, I suggested Tesla was trading at bargain prices given the progress it was making regarding weekly Model 3 production. The automaker produced 9,766 Model 3s in Q1 2018 including two consecutive weeks at 2,000 or more.
So confident of its ability to up the ante, Musk raised the weekly target in April to 6,000 by June.
If investors and analysts get even a whiff that this is possible when it reports Q1 2018 earnings, you’ll see the exact opposite of what happened to SNAP stock.
But, as we all know, that’s a big if.
A $200 Tesla Stock
Three things matter for the shorts.
First, the Model 3 production numbers must either show that they’ve stalled since early April or the company scales back its weekly goal for the end of June.
Either of those should be enough to shake out some of those long TSLA stock.
Secondly, Musk tweeted in mid-April that Tesla will be profitable and cash flow positive in the third and fourth quarters of this year.
If that proves to be illusory, the argument of running out of cash will heat up once more, possibly putting a dent in its share price.
Finally, and this is an addendum to the second point, if Musk floats the idea of raising cash before the end of 2018 to finance some of its future vehicles such as the Model Y and Semi-Truck, investors are not going to be happy.
Of the three, I think the first point is the most critical, followed by the third and second points respectively.
Bottom Line on Tesla Stock
Here’s what I said about its stock on April 4 when it was trading at $287.
“In the face of these most recent production numbers, I think it’s fair to say that Tesla hasn’t driven off course, I wrote. “Personally, I think Tesla stock is in the bargain bin — but in a good way. Aggressive investors ought to be buying here.”
Unless Tesla delivers a report that’s well off the highway, aggressive investors still ought to be buying.
I see Tesla headed to $400, not $200.
As of this writing, Will Ashworth did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.