Tesla Downgrade Takes Shares to 2019 Lows

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Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) saw some rekindled pressure on its stock on Tuesday, and it wasn’t even from a rogue tweet from CEO Elon Musk. Tuesday’s top analyst upgrades and downgrades showed that Barclays has reiterated its Underweight rating and lowered its price target for the stock to $192 from $210.

While other analysts are still bullish on Tesla’s future, this now appears to be the lowest sell-side analyst price target on Wall Street.

Brian Johnson of Barclays believes that the move toward lower-priced Model 3s and the recently communicated store closures are undermining the bullish thesis. Remember that Barclays has been among the more bearish of Tesla’s research crowd. With Tesla having been called “the next Apple” by selling higher-priced electric vehicles with high gross margins, the lower price point is undermining the secular growth story here.

One worry about the price and cost cuts is that it suggests the need to replenish cash rather than talking about the dramatic progress being made on manufacturing and distribution costs.

Since Musk dialed down the view that Tesla would be profitable in the first quarter instead of the second, there have been more concerns about what might happen to Tesla’s cash balance if or when it pays down its debt.

Tesla’s stock traded down 4.8% at $271.60 on Tuesday morning, and what should stand out is that this is year-to-date low. Tesla shares closed out 2018 at $332.80.

Tesla’s consensus analyst target price was $332.01 ahead of this call, and the 52-week trading range is $244.59 to $387.46. The market capitalization is just over $47 billion.

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