- Tesla is set to announce news on Thursday, CEO Elon Musk announced this week.
- The timing is interesting, given the billionaire’s renewed spat with federal regulators.
- There’s speculation that the news could be a long-awaited base-model Model 3 or an autonomous-tech update.
Elon Musk announced this week that “some Tesla news” would come at 2 p.m. PT on Thursday.
Ben Kallo, an analyst at Baird, on Thursday morning declared Tesla a “fresh pick” and reaffirmed his $US465 price target, one of the highest on Wall Street. No matter what the news ends up being, it should help the stock pick up steam, he said.
“Regardless of the content of the company update, we think the demand concerns are overblown and believe the announcement could be a catalyst,” Kallo told clients in a note.
“Investor scepticism on demand (both in the first quarter and over the course of 2019) has been high in our recent conversations, and we expect this update could highlight positive business developments and improve broader sentiment.”
Among the possibilities for Thursday’s announcement are the long-awaited $US35,000 version of the Model 3, an update on autonomous-driving technology – Musk comments about which have been deemed “unethical” by one expert – or even the Model Y.
Kallo, however, is hoping it’s not the Model Y.
“We believe management is cognisant of the short-term need to reassure investors on Model 3 demand and margins,” he said.
Adding another product to the mix could complicate Tesla’s ongoing headaches over a production ramp-up and delivery logistics.
It’s not a bid to boost Tesla’s stock price ahead of a $US920 million bond conversion due Friday. The notes’ observation period has ended with shares below the conversion price of $US359.88, and Bloomberg has reported that the company said it would repay debt holders with a mix of cash and equity.
Debt payments aside, Kallo said investors should focus on long-term fundamentals to avoid the “constant noise” around Tesla.
“The SEC recently requested a federal judge hold Musk in civil contempt, which added to significant noise (employee turnover, SEC headlines, etc.) in recent weeks,” Kallo said.
“We think share weakness has created a buying opportunity for investors willing to focus on improving company fundamentals.”
Shares of Tesla sank about 0.6% in trading Thursday, near $US313. The stock is about 23% off its 52-week high of $US387 per share, hit last August amid Musk’s failed attempt to take the company private, which began the ongoing regulatory drama.
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