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Tesla Shares at All-Time High

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tesla  (TSLA) shares pushed to an all-time high Thursday after Deutsche Bank updated the price target for Tesla to $200 from $160.

The stock has ranged in price between $169.08 to $179.40. The stock was trading at $179.15 early Thursday afternoon. 

Earlier this week Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company plans to develop a self-driving car by 2017. Musk said there was "intense effort underway at Tesla to develop a practical autopilot system for Model S."

Self-driving technology is a hot commodity, with Google (GOOG) and Nissan  (NSANY) expressing interest in its research and development in recent months.

Tesla's share price has remained above $163 throughout the week, despite news that General Motors  (GM) is  developing a long-range electric vehicle, a direct challenge to Tesla's Model S. Ever the avid social networker, Musk commented on Twitter that he was "happy to hear that GM plans to develop an affordable 200-mile range electric car" and that he hoped others would follow suit.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Tesla a Sell with a ratings score of D. The team had this to say about Tesla: "We rate Tesla a SELL. This is driven by several weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been poor profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team are as follows:

  • The gross profit margin for Tesla is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 30.28%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -7.52% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Automobiles industry and the overall market, Tesla's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Tesla reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, Tesla reported poor results of -$3.70 versus -$2.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.59 versus -$3.70).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Automobiles industry. The net income increased by 71.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$105.60 million to -$30.50 million.
  • This stock has increased by 410.84% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the future course of this stock, we feel that the risks involved in investing in TSLA do not compensate for any future upside potential, despite the fact that it has seen nice gains over the past 12 months.

Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.

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