Tesla analysts are piling on after disappointing delivery numbers sent the stock plunging (TSLA)


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  • Tesla shares plunged Thursday after the company reported first-quarter delivery figures that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations.
  • The results renewed analysts’ concerns over slowing demand for Tesla’s vehicles, a major theme that’s haunted shareholders for months.
  • The disappointing numbers come just ahead of oral arguments in CEO Elon Musk’s contempt of court hearing.
  • Watch Tesla trade live.

Tesla shares plunged nearly 9% Thursday morning as Wall Street analysts sounded off on the company’s disappointing delivery figures released the evening prior, leading at least one prominent analyst to slash his price target on the name.

The disappointing showing renewed concerns over softening demand for Tesla’s electric vehicles. That has been a major pain point for shareholders in recent months — even amid the long-awaited $35,000 Model 3 unveiling and and newly released Model Y.

Analysts for the most part sounded exasperated in their notes sent out to clients following the results. After all, they’re trying to square not only the delivery figures that have implications for Tesla’s first-quater results, but also a chief executive that’s mired in a legal battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission — over tweeting about production.

Read more: Tesla says it delivered about 63,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2019, a 31% drop from Q4 2018

“The now clear incongruence of CEO outlook statements with official company guidance may hurt the perception of management commentary, eroding investor confidence and potentially placing additional pressures on the shares,” wrote Ryan Brinkman, an analyst at JP Morgan. He cut his price target from $215 to $200 a share, implying a drop of about 24% from where shares were trading Thursday morning. 

Tesla said in a filing out Wednesday that a large number of deliveries would shift to the second quarter due to a “massive increase” in demand from China and Europe.

Some analysts were concerned about this point alone. “Tesla indicated 50% of deliveries were made in the last 10 days of the quarter, continuing to highlight logistics challenge,” Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois said in a note.

On Thursday, a judge in New York City is expected to hear oral arguments on whether CEO Elon Musk should be held in contempt of court for tweeting about production numbers earlier this year.

Here’s a snapshot of what other Tesla analysts are saying about the Tesla’s first-quarter deliveries:

Morgan Stanley: ‘Tesla 1Q Deliveries Disappoint: How Much Cash in the Bank?’

Rating: Equal-weight

Price target: $260

The first quarter is shaping up to be one Tesla “may want to forget,” analysts led by Adam Jonas wrote in a Thursday note to clients. But now the company needs to explain its quarterly performance to shareholders who believe in the long-term “disruptor” potential, they added.

The deteriorating mix in vehicles delivered was the biggest negative surprise to Morgan Stanley, which said Model S and Model X volume was roughly 40% below the firm’s forecast.

“Barring a near-term refresh in these models, we would prepare for the remainder of the year’s volume of S and X to remain weak,” analysts wrote. 

JP Morgan: ‘5 Reasons Why Tesla’s 1Q Deliveries Report Is So Negative (Including Potential SEC Implications) — Reiterate Underweight’

Rating: Underweight

Price target: $200 (prior $215)

“Tesla’s 1Q19 vehicle production & deliveries report was substantially worse than expected,” analysts led by Ryan Brinkman told clients Thursday.

The firm drew five conclusions from the delivery figures.

1. Total deliveries of 63,000 missed the analysts’ expectation for 70,500, and suggested “materially less 1Q revenue, margin, and free cash flow.”

2. Vehicles in transit by quarter-end implied underlying domestic demand has fallen.

3. Similarly, a decline in higher-priced Model S and Model X deliveries — totaling 12,000 between them for the first quarter — again suggests slowing demand unrelated to “temporary delivery difficulties.” 

4. Tesla’s reaffirmation that it would deliver between 360,000 and 400,000 vehicles this year “appears to clarify official guidance has in fact all along remained at 360-400k,” undermining Musk’s legal defense that he had not provided new information in his February tweet saying production would be 500,000 vehicles.

5. The clear difference between Musk’s outlook and the company’s official guidance “may hurt the perception of management commentary, eroding investor confidence and potentially placing additional pressures on the shares.” 

RBC Capital Markets: ‘1Q19 Deliveries Disappoint’

Rating: Underperform

Price target: $210

Analyst Joseph Spak said the delivery numbers were “disappointing across the boards,” and estimated the results could translate into a revenue miss of $1 billion or more.

Specifically, Model S and Model X deliveries falling short of the firm’s expectations was “very disappointing,” and the lowest figure since the third quarter of 2015 when “it was effectively all Model S,” Spak wrote.

He added: “To us, this signals that the tax subsidy cut in the US was a significant hit to these premium vehicles and/or Model 3 is having a bigger cannibalization impact. Either is a problem, in our view.”

See the rest of the story at Business Insider