Make or Break Week for Tesla, Earnings and More

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Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is due to report earnings this coming Wednesday.  This did not make our top earnings of the week because Tesla actually has such a low market barometer and often moves in different direction than the broader market. This will be key for anything tied to fuel cells and other alternative energy names. Any chance for the public to hear from Elon Musk is widely followed.

The electric car maker has earnings estimates from Thomson Reuters of $0.10 EPS (versus $0.12 a year ago), but revenue growth is expected to be 24% to $699.1 million. For the coming quarter, estimates are $0.27 EPS and $818.74 million in revenue. The 2014 consensus targets are $1.78 EPS and $3.65 billion in revenue.

Tesla’s Friday closing price of $210.91 compares to a 52-week range of $55.12 to $265, and the market cap is still about $26 billion. The consensus analyst price target from Thomson Reuters is $227.42, but the range is incredibly wide – a low of under $100, and a high above $300.

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Tesla remains valued at 46% of the market cap of General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) and 41% of the market cap of Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F). The difference is that GM and Ford are paying close to 3% yields in dividends. GM is expected to have revenue of $159 billion in 2014 versus $140 billion for Ford.

We will be looking closely at production targets for 2014, as well as what the update is for the Gigafactory — its planned factory to build new-generation batteries — and of course the move toward a mainstream electric vehicle priced closer to $30,000 in the years ahead.

Tesla trades at 118 times expected 2014 earnings and about 55 times expected 2015 earnings. Investors are not buying the 2014 or even the 2015 story. They are buying the 2018 to 2020 story.