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Morgan Stanley Downgrades Tesla On Risk, Valuation Following Massive Stock Run

Elizabeth Balboa

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) has had an incredible $300 run in just a few short months. Shares broke $400 in mid-December and soared to an all-time high of about $538 earlier this week.

One team of analysts is cautious to buy into the market’s enthusiasm.

The Rating

Morgan Stanley analysts Adam Jonas and Armintas Sinkevicius downgraded Tesla to Underweight, but raised their price target from $250 to $360.

The Thesis

By their account, Tesla has risen on four factors: progress in China, positive incentive policies, product expansion and strong global demand.

“We believe these factors, combined with other market/technical forces have triggered a significant reduction in the market's implied risk premium for this asset,” Jonas and Sinkevicius wrote in a note. “Nearterm momentum and sentiment around the stock is admittedly very strong, but we ultimately question the sustainability of the momentum.”

The stock is priced close to their bull-case valuation and does not seem to account for risk in Tesla’s mobility business or in China.

“In our view, the current price discounts a fundamental outcome that skews much closer to a bull case than a base case,” they wrote.

Still Bullish For The Future

While they see 30% downside risk, the downgrade is more a reflection of Tesla’s short-term rather than long-term potential.

“We’re encouraged by Tesla's execution and think it deserves to be among the world’s most valuable auto companies, and is perhaps the most important auto company in the world given its EV leadership,” Jonas and Sinkevicius wrote. “However, we think investors will be presented with more attractive opportunities to own the stock in the future.”

The analysts raised their price target on positive core auto prospects. They anticipate an increase in volume in China, where Tesla has ramped more quickly than expected and the government has increased capital access.

Price Action

At time of publication, Tesla's stock traded down 4.2% to about $497 per share.

Related Links:

From 'Made In China' To 'Designed in China:' Tesla Is Hiring Staff To Design Models In New Research Center

Tesla Shorts Vs. Beyond Meat Shorts: Who's Getting Squeezed Harder?

Latest Ratings for TSLA

Date Firm Action From To
Jan 2020 Downgrades Equal-Weight Underweight
Jan 2020 Maintains Buy
Jan 2020 Maintains Outperform

View More Analyst Ratings for TSLA
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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