Analyst Makes Even Greater Bullish Case for Tesla, With Some Risks

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Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) stock has been on fire in 2017. It has risen over 62% since the end of 2016, ahead of the Model 3 launch due this summer. Now one analyst is issuing an even more aggressive “bull case” for Tesla.

Pacific Crest, which just downgraded Apple this week, has now hiked its bull case price target to $439 from a prior $371.

Tesla is no longer just an electric car company now that it has amalgamated the SolarCity operations with its own battery storage efforts. That being said, Tesla’s market cap of $57 billion is about 10% higher than that of General Motors and is more than 25% higher than that of Ford.

If Pacific Crest is proven to be correct, that represents another 26% gain ahead. The report from the firm’s Brad Erickson and Elliot Arnson said:

We are raising our bull case to $439 and believe this is actively in play with Model 3 launching next month. Model 3 expectations are low and may head lower. Perception is reality, and we expect the perception to be positive. … Fundamentals and profitability may be largely ignored until 2018.

While the $439 bullish case sounds rather robust, the team here did note that, over the longer-term, optimism in Tesla is likely to become more muted after investors begin to start judging the company for demand and growth and on its profitability.

As a reminder, short sellers have been rather aggressive in Tesla shares over time. That being said, the short interest has been somewhat stable between 31 million and 32 million shares in recent reporting periods. The days to cover ratio has mostly been between four and six days.

There has been some mixed news around Tesla this week as well. One key issue is that the cost of owning a Tesla is rising from the insurance and repair costs, even as Tesla made the biggest jump among the top 10 carmakers in a recent study. Toyota also recently unloaded its stake in Tesla.

Tesla shares were up another 1.1% at $351.30 on Tuesday morning, in a 52-week range of $178.19 to $351.50 and with a consensus analyst price target (from Thomson Reuters) of $269.56.