Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock is still in the green year to date despite the steady plunge over the last couple of weeks. That could change soon, however, as Goldman Sachs’ downgrade has pushed it off a cliff. Despite reaching a record high last month, short interest in Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock is still rising, as it seems bears are surer than ever.
Short-sellers add $75 million to positions
Ihor Dusaniwsky, head of research at financial analytics firm S3 Partners, tweeted earlier today that short interest in the name has risen $75 million just this morning, reaching $7.3 billion in the wake of Goldman’s downgrade.
— Ihor Dusaniwsky (@ihors3) February 27, 2017
Goldman analyst David Tamberrino offered three reasons for his downgrade from Neutral to Sell and his six-month price target cut from $190 to $185 per share.
He does feel that the company is leading its automaker peers in terms of adoption of vehicle technology, architecture for electric vehicles and possibly scale of batteries, he has some near-term concerns. One is the Model 3 launch, the second is SolarCity, and the third is Tesla Inc (TSLA)’s cash needs.
Tesla stock has risen on nothing
Tamberrino states that Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock has climbed 42% since Dec. 2, compared to the S&P 500’s 8% increase in the same time frame. His auto coverage universe has increased 9% since then. He adds that positive news flow has served to boost Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock, as the company could benefit from potential tax proposals. It also gave investors a tour of its Gigafactory and has begun pre-production on the Model 3.
However, the Goldman analyst doesn’t feel Tesla Inc (TSLA) has offered any “material improvement” in fundamentals. He also suggests that any possible tax benefits won’t make any difference based on the net present value of the net operating losses the company has been racking up.
Tesla stock could de-rate
He feels that Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock could de-rate because of disappointment about the Model 3 production and launch. The analyst is undoubtedly making his call about disappointment in the ramp based on the Model S and Model X, which were both late and began slowly in terms of shipments. However, in a post on The Motley Fool, John Rosevear feels that the company is preparing for a much better launch this time around based on lessons learned from the first two vehicle launches.
He believes Tesla Inc (TSLA) will make the Model 3 much easier to manufacture, noting that management has acknowledged lessons from the Model X ramp. Specifically, Tesla Inc (TSLA) management chalked up the early problems with the vehicle to “hubris,” meaning that they basically stuffed it so full of high-tech features that it was difficult to manufacture. The Model 3 will be different, however, according to Rosevear. He notes that the car is designed for the mass market and expected to have fewer of the high-tech features Tesla Inc (TSLA) is known for, which should make it much easier to produce than either the Model X or Model S.
Tamberrino also warns that SolarCity‘s business model is still an “unproven” one and that it will probably weigh on Tesla Inc (TSLA), not only in terms of financial results but also in terms of its focus.
Like most other analysts, Tamberrino is predicting a capital raise this year as the company ramps capital expenditures. In his case, he’s predicting that it will come in the third quarter. He’s projecting $3 billion in automotive capital expenditures and free cash flow burn of $2.8 billion this year. All of this would require Tesla Inc (TSLA) to raise $1.7 billion in equity.
Shares of Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock tumbled by as much as 4.64% to $245.08 during regular trading hours on Monday.