Tesla jumps as rush of good news put cynics into hibernation

Esha Dey

Tesla Inc. shares touched their highest in more than a year after a host of positive news boosted investment sentiment for the stock that has significantly underperformed the broader market this year.

The stock rose as much as 7% on Monday, touching the highest intraday level since August 2018. After the latest jump, Tesla shares are now up 15% this year, compared to a nearly 28% increase in the S&P 500 index.

Tesla's Model S

Earlier on Monday, Credit Suisse analyst Dan Levy said the electric vehicle maker was leading in areas that will likely define the future of car making – namely, software and electrification. The analyst said a visit to the company’s Gigafactory last week “reinforced why Tesla is likely ahead of others on batteries the core of the electric powertrain.”

For comparison, in 2018 Tesla had a combined 44 Gigawatt hours of battery cell/pack capacity, while all other automakers globally combined had 46 Gigawatt hours, the analyst wrote in a note to clients. Levy maintained sell-equivalent rating on the stock, as well as the price target of $200.

In other developments, a website called Tesmanian said the first batch of made-in-China Model 3 reservation holders have received delivery notices from Tesla, suggesting deliveries may be imminent.

“Right now it is hard for the bears to stay negative just given what they are seeing,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a phone interview. He added that channel checks done by various analysts and market watchers are pointing to stronger demand and production trends, pushing bears into a “hibernation mode.”

About 19.5% of Tesla’s free float are held short, according to S3 Partners, down from a high of 37.3% in late May.

Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch in a note said “expectations for a relatively smooth ramp of Tesla’s China facility are increasing,” citing photos of vehicles produced in the company’s China facility that have begun to “filter out through multiple media outlets.”

“Near-term, it appears Tesla is tracking toward being able to achieve its target for delivering 360,000 vehicles,” Rusch said.

There was also some initial enthusiasm around lawmakers’ negotiation for the revival of certain expired tax breaks, which if successful, could have buoyed tax breaks for consumers planning to buy electric cars. However, that optimism was fading on Monday among lobbyists, as negotiators weren’t considering including an expansion of that electric car credit, and the White House was lobbying against it.

With assistance from Dana Hull.