Alex Cho
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Tesla Motors Price Target Raised to $314 at RBC Capital Markets

Thankfully, there was some positive commentary from the consensus following TSLA’s earning s report. Which, I believe was a solid report going into CY’17, which is why I was surprised by the weak reaction. That being the case, the analysts at RBC Capital Markets, i.e. Joseph Spak raised his price target from $265 to $314. Though they maintained their market perform rating.

I believe he’s the only analyst I’ve reviewed so far, that had a unit sell-in figure that even came close to what management outlook implied. Though, it’s fair to say, analysts are setting the bar extremely low, so investors react more positively on future earnings reports.

Here was some of Joseph’s key commentary coming out of the report:

To be frank, our model remains a work in progress. There are a number of open questions including the trajectory of opex, solar gross profit (and, although of less importance, non-controlling interest), and capex beyond 1H17. We hope that once the 10-K is published, we will be able to put a finer point on some of our assumptions.

Our forecasts aside, Tesla is a sentiment/momentum stock and much hinges (both sentiment and earnings) on Model 3. Delivering Model 3 allows the dream to be dreamt, and while cadence of the ramp is critical, we do believe it is undeniable that cash flow could be ample at proper run-rates. Management sounds confident on the launch. We, too, are growing more optimistic, as Model 3 seems mostly on schedule and associated profit might be better than previously thought. As such, we are revising our delivery forecast to 350k in 2018 (including 250k Model 3’s) and 750k by 2020 (including 650k Model 3s). Our 2020 forecast is up from 505k previously but still below 1mm target.

I understand his conservatism, but at least one analyst team is moving estimates to be more in-line with the production volume ramp TSLA is building capacity for. Hence, I think the consensus will start moving estimates towards a 500k production run by 2020, but will likely move higher once we get data on deliveries from FY’18 onwards.