Tesla’s Delivery Numbers Looked Great. Here’s What Wall Street Thinks.
‘s first-quarter deliveries, reported on Friday during the market’s close, blew away Wall Street’s expectations. Investors sent shares of the electric-vehicle pioneer up sharply in early morning trading on Monday.
Tesla (ticker: TSLA) reported 185,000 vehicle deliveries for the first three months of 2021. Analyst projections for the quarter had drifted down to between 160,000 and 170,000 vehicles due to the global automotive microchip shortage roiling the entire automotive industry.
It was a big beat. What’s more, Tesla’s 185,000 deliveries were higher than what the Street expected before analysts warned of the chip shortage. Tesla stock, as a result, is up almost 8% in premarket trading to about $711 a share.
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futures, for comparison, are both up less than 1%.
The car maker’s deliveries were good enough for one analyst to upgrade his rating on the stock. Wedbush’s Dan Ives boosted his rating to Buy from Hold and raised his price target to $1,000 a share from $950. “The 1Q delivery number….was a paradigm changer and shows that the pent-up demand globally for Tesla’s Model 3/Y is hitting its next stage of growth,” wrote Ives in a Sunday note. “A global green tidal wave [is] underway.”
Ives expects government incentives around the world to boost demand for electric vehicles. He increased his full-year delivery target for Tesla to about 850,000 vehicles. The current Wall Street consensus is about 800,000.
New Street Research analyst Pierre Ferragu rated Tesla shares Buy with a $900 price target before Tesla’s delivery report. Ferragu, however, was a little nervous, believing that the chip shortage would impact deliveries. The results dismissed those concerns: “Initial review suggests we missed a monster March in China with Model Y ramping faster than we expected.” He sees Tesla’s earnings estimate moving higher because of Model Y growth. He also believes Tesla’s Model S and X vehicles, which are undergoing a refresh next quarter to upgrade interiors and features, can boost second-quarter results.
Tesla delivered 2,000 Model S and X vehicles in the first quarter, lower than Baird analyst Ben Kallo expected. “While a miss, this result is an inventory-clearing event ahead of significant upgrades of the model S and X,” wrote Kallo in a Monday report. those are undergoing a “refresh” in the second quarter. Auto makers will refresh models from time to time, upgrading interiors and features.
This will be the most significant refresh of those two models. Tesla will also launch the Model S Plaid edition, which the car maker says will be the fastest production vehicle ever made. “The new vehicles are due for [second quarter] delivery as the company is in the early stages of ramping production.”
Kallo rates shares Buy and has a $736 price target for the stock.
Not everyone is as bullish on Tesla stock. Cowen analyst Jeffery Osborne rates shares Hold. Despite his more cautious view, Osborne is raising his full-year delivery numbers and price target for shares of Tesla. “Receptivity to the Model Y in China was always a grey area in our minds since there was never disclosure on deposit/interest levels from Tesla,” wrote Osborne in a Sunday report. “Given the upside in [the first quarter] coupled with the positive tone in the release, we are raising our Model Y forecasts for 2021 and would expect the Street to do so.” Osborne raised his price target to $573 from $545.
J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman, who rates shares Sell, raised his target to $155 from $135 a share, still well below where the stock has been trading. Brinkman noted that sequential deliveries from the fourth to the first quarter, at 2%, were essentially flat. That’s one reason he believes Tesla stock is overpriced.
Sell-rated GLJ analyst Gordon Johnson made the same point in his note. “Tesla has a growing demand problem,” wrote Johnson, saying that the more than 100% year-over-year growth in the first quarter isn’t as important as the 2% sequential growth from the fourth to the first quarter. His target price for Tesla stock is the lowest on the Street at $67 a share.
Johnson also questioned why Tesla produced zero Model S and X vehicles in the first quarter ahead of the refresh. That’s something analysts and investors can ask management about on the coming conference call.
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