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Tesla Motors Inc Or General Motors?

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Shares of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) were on the rise again today, gaining as much as 3% in afternoon trading. Shares edged higher as the automaker said it was gearing up to start delivering preordered Model S sedans to China. Those deliveries have been backed up for nearly a year.

Tesla expected to beat

Shares of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) have been on a tear for the last year or so, as the automaker rode high on earnings beats. This time around, JPMorgan analyst Ryan Brinkman believes Tesla will again beat estimates, according to Barron’s. However, he sees upside as being limited because of everything else that is going on with the company.

He believes Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will report deliveries of 6,500 vehicles. He sees limited upside to this number because it depends on how many units are currently in transit. Also he sees production “outstripping sales.” His delivery projection is just slightly higher than Tesla’s own guidance of 6,400 deliveries, which the automaker issued when it released the earnings results from the fourth quarter. Tesla’s next report is expected on May 7.

Brinkman estimates that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) produced 7,500 units during the first quarter, so he believes 1,000 will be in transit, mostly to Europe and a smaller number to China. The analyst predicts that Tesla will report earnings of 13 cents per share for the first quarter. He has a $164 per share target price on Tesla, which suggests a more than 16% downside to today’s share price.

General Motors remains Brinkman’s top pick

Within the auto industry, Brinkman says General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is his best idea. He points to the valuation and also expected earnings inflection, which could come as soon as the second quarter. In addition, he said that while the recall of millions of vehicles due to the faulty ignition switch does negatively impact the company’s valuation, he sees a buying opportunity because he believes Wall Street overreacted.

He notes that as of now, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) trades at 3.2 times NTM EBITDAP. That’s a “roughly full turn discount to long-run average” and a 1.8 time discount to Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F). He has a target price of $50 a share on GM, which suggests 47% upside to today’s share price.

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