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Tesla shares rise on optimism about new models

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. rose Wednesday on optimism about that the electric car maker will be able to meet production targets for its new models.

THE SPARK: Baird analyst Ben Kallo boosted his price target for Tesla stock by $48 to $118, saying that the recent success of the company's Model S sedan, coupled with its cash position, allows investors to look ahead to its planned "X'' and "Gen III" vehicles.

THE BIG PICTURE: Currently Tesla sells only the $70,000 Model S sedan, but its "X'' SUV is slated for the second half of 2014 and the "Gen III," which will be half the price of the Model S, is slated to hit the road in three or four years.

Shares of the Palo Alto, Calif., company have gotten a boost in recent months from positive Model S sales data. The company's stock price has nearly tripled since the first of the year.

Also in May, Consumer Reports magazine said the Model S tied for the highest rating in the history of the magazine's auto testing.

THE ANALYSIS: "Based on its technology foundation, Tesla has emerged as the electric leader and continues to build its brand-value," Kallo wrote in a note to investors. "We think Model S accolades, go-to market strategy, and infrastructure rollout boost brand value." He kept an "Outperform" rating on the stock.

THE SHARES: Up $4.07, or 4.3 percent, to $98.53 in afternoon trading, after peaking at $100.48 earlier in the session. Over the past 52 weeks, the company's shares have traded between $25.52 and $114.90.