Buy Tesla into earnings even though it will miss estimates: Analyst


Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors, speaks during an event at the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors, speaks during an event at the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

Tesla will likely disappoint when it reports September quarter earnings, but investors should focus on the long term and retain a favorable outlook on the shares, one Wall Street firm says.

Nomura Instinet reaffirmed its buy rating for the electric car maker’s shares, predicting Tesla will eventually sort out its Model 3 production issues.

Tesla announced on Oct. 2 it delivered 26,150 total vehicles and just 220 Model 3 cars in the third quarter vs. the FactSet estimates for 25,860 and 1,260, respectively. Two months before Tesla revealed the numbers, it had said it would produce 1,500 Model 3 vehicles for the quarter.

“Investors are anticipating a weak 3Q report. Though results will likely miss expectations, we remain positive on Tesla’s shares, believing that deliveries, margins, and cash flow will bottom in Q3 and inflect higher over the next several periods,” badyst Romit Shah wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.

“Don’t miss the ‘forest’ for the trees when considering near-term Model 3 production constraints … Ultimately, we view near-term delivery timing as semantical; reaching mbad-market production is critical, whether it happens next week or in six weeks is not.”

Shah reiterated his $500 price target for Tesla shares, representing 56 percent upside to Monday’s close. The badyst has the highest price target on Wall Street, according to FactSet.

He predicts the company will report a $2.39 earnings per share loss for the third-quarter vs. the Wall Street consensus of $2.27 loss.

“We expect 3Q gross margins could come in below our estimate of 17.8% due primarily to the digestion of high start-up costs related to Model 3 production, lower pricing for Model X and weaker-than-expected volumes,” he wrote. “However, we believe that 3Q will be Tesla’s most challenging quarter of the Model 3 ramp.”

Tesla’s stock traded up slightly in Tuesday’s premarket session. Its shares are up 50 percent this year versus the S&P 500’s 15 percent gain through Monday.

The company is slated to report third-quarter earnings results Wednesday.

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