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Tesla Rebounds From Tweet Chaos, Gets Upgrade at Jefferies

Catherine Larkin and Esha Dey
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Tesla Rebounds From Tweet Chaos, Gets Upgrade at Jefferies

(Bloomberg) -- The tide might finally be turning for Tesla Inc. investors, who have been on a choppy ride this year.

Shares of the electric-vehicle maker were poised to wipe out the steep losses since early August, post touching a high of $387.46. The stock was up 2.4 percent at 11:29 a.m. in New York, after jumping as much as 4.5 percent to touch a high of $379.49.

The latest vote of confidence came from Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois, who upgraded his rating on Tesla to buy from hold, saying the company looks positioned to outperform electric-vehicle peers in the coming year.

Broader price points, battery improvements and a strong brand will help Tesla grow earnings in 2019-2020, Houchois wrote in a note to clients. Tesla also is shoring up its balance sheet, even though governance issues remain a concern for many investors after founder Elon Musk’s botched plan to take the company private.

“We think it is fair to ask whether Musk intends to remain as CEO,” Houchois wrote. “In a downside scenario, we think potential M&A provides a floor to valuation.”

In a CBS This Morning video clip, Musk said “I don’t think that’s true,” in response to a question about people saying Tesla can’t survive without him. The clip is from a “60 Minutes” interview that will air Sunday night. In reply to another question, he said he’s “somewhat impulsive, and I don’t really want to try to adhere to some CEO template.”

Jefferies raised its price target on Tesla shares to $450 from $360, among the highest of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

(Updates share move in second paragraph and adds Musk comment in sixth paragraph.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Catherine Larkin in Chicago at clarkin4@bloomberg.net;Esha Dey in New York at edey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Arie Shapira at ashapira3@bloomberg.net, Will Daley, Melinda Grenier

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