Shares of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) traded down about 1% early Wednesday following a negative note from KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Brad Erickson. KeyBanc maintained its Sector Weight rating but did not assign a price target to the stock.
Erickson expects deliveries of the company’s Model 3 sedan to come in around 5,000 for the quarter, well short of a prior estimate of 15,000. The new Model 3 is widely regarded as a must-win for Tesla if the company is going to begin showing a profit.
The estimated sales miss means that investors may decide to accept that Tesla is growing more slowly than they expected and the slowdown is not priced into the shares.
Or not. According to Erickson, cited at StockNews, the lowered delivery total may not be that big a deal:
While we expect 4Q Model 3 deliveries to come in below expectations, we note that a few thousand units shy of expectations likely will not be viewed too negatively by investors. We think bullish investors in particular remain more focused on that the car is being produced with minimal defects and that consumer reviews and response are favorable (generally, things have been positive to date, although objectivity from outside Tesla circles remains scarce).
For the quarter as a whole, Erickson said that Tesla’s estimate that second-half deliveries would surpass first-half totals appears to be correct. Sales of the company’s Model S sedan and Model X SUV will meet (but not exceed) previous forecasts.
One thing that could help sales is the retention in the Republican tax bill of the $7,500 tax credit on electric vehicles. That promises to keep the final cost of a Model 3 below $30,000 for the base model.
The stock traded down about 1% Wednesday morning, at $314.45 in a 52-week range of $210.96 to $389.61. The 12-month consensus price target on the stock is $312.65.