Tesla’s biggest supporters on Wall Street are nervous about the company's first quarter results

Dave Mosher/InsiderSpaceX founder Elon Musk gestures during a press briefing on March 2, 2019. The event followed the successful launch of Demo-1: the first mission to launch Crew Dragon, a commercial spaceship designed for astronauts, into orbit.

  • Tesla likely won’t be profitable this quarter, Elon Musk said in February.
  • The company is rushing to deliver cars before the end of the quarter on Sunday.
  • That rush, now a quarterly event at Tesla, has even Wall Street’s most bullish analyst worrying.

Even some of Tesla’s staunches bulls on Wall Street are nervous about the company’s first quarter results.

The company is in the midst of an all-hands-on-deck rush to deliver cars to their owners before the quarter’s end on Sunday, and has already guided down its expected financial performance in February when CEO Elon Musk said the company may slip back into the red.

“We can’t deny some nervousness about Q1 results,” Philippe Houchois , an analyst for Jefferies, told clients Wednesday. Despite his long-standing $US450 price target – a 40% upside to the stock’s latest prices – Houchois is joining other bullish analysts in tampering expectations for the current quarter.

“1Q19 model 3 deliveries could be anywhere between 50,000 and 65,000 units,” Pierre Ferragu of New Street research said in a note Wednesday.

“We lack visibility on how much the decline in pent-up demand will affect deliveries in the U.S.,” he continued, “and how much international expansion and lower-price SKUs will boost demand, but we remain confident the net effect will be positive enough for Tesla to thrive in 2019.”

Wall Street analysts polled by Bloomberg expect Tesla to post a loss this quarter of about $US0.58 per share, on revenues of $US6.09 billion. Jefferies’ forecast is slightly lower, at $US5.6 billion, thanks to slipping ASP’s (average selling price) for the Model 3, for which Tesla has begun taking orders for the long-awaited base model.

New Street’s Ferragu is betting that model can still be profitable, if Tesla is able to keep lowering production costs. However, current salespeople tell Business Insider they have seen no standard range Model 3 either in their stores or out for delivery. The company’s website says deliveries of the car can be expected in six to eight weeks.

Tesla Model 3  New StreetNew Street Research

“In the second half of 2018, the Model 3 took over 50% share of its addressable market in the U.S. (premium sedan, $US45k+),” Ferragu said. “This impressive performance is unlikely to be sustainable. It was supported by the upcoming deadline for subsides and the monster pent-up demand, which built over the last couple of years.”

Shares of Tesla were trading around $US269 on Wednesday, about 19% below Wall Street average target price of $US321.

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