Analysts at Barclays cut their price target on Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) , the clean energy carmaker, just hours after founder and CEO Elon Musk said it needed "a lot of catching up' to achieve record deliveries in the current quarter.
Under pressure from shareholders, potential China tariffs, increasing competition and myriad production challenges, Musk has sought to steady the stock's precipitous 2019 decline with a tighter grip on costs and a renewed focus on deliveries, which he hopes can top the fourth quarter record of 90,700 over the three months ending in June.
"While our demand is strong, we have a lot of vehicle deliveries to catch up to in order to have a successful quarter," Musk wrote in a company-wide email reported by multiple media outlets. "Per my earlier email, if we execute well, Q2 will be an all-time record for Tesla vehicle deliveries and an awesome victory!!."
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Barclays, however, appears less convinced that the group can meet its stated aim of delivering between 360,000 and 400,000 vehicles this year, after only shifting 63,000 over the first quarter, and analyst Brian Johnson cut its price target on the carmaker to $150 per share from $192.
Tesla shares were up 0.4% to $190.64 on Thursday. The stock has fallen year-to-date by 42.7%.
I paid most of my Tesla-related expenses too. Tesla last year was actually net negative comp for me.- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 29, 2019
A good portion of that decline followed President Donald Trump May 5 announcement that the U.S. would raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of China-made imports, a move that raised the prospect of reprisal actions on key American companies from Beijing.
Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas lowered his "bear case" outcome for the stock price, a view based on a series of worst-case scenarios for Tesla, to $10 a share from a previous estimate of $97 amid increasing concern it could find itself trapped in a tech and trade war between Washington and Beijing. Jonas has a $230 price target, with an equal-weight rating, under the stock's base-case scenario.
Jonas's estimate is for Tesla sales in China, between 2020 and 2024, to generate around $9 billion in revenues. However, should officials in Beijing respond to the increasingly damaging trade war and target Tesla with reprisal tariffs or restrictions, that figure could be sliced in half and carve more than $16.4 billion in market value from the Palo Alto, California-based company.
"Our revised case assumes Tesla misses our current Chinese volume forecast by roughly half, to account for the highly volatile trade situation in the region, particularly around areas of technology, which we believe run a high and increasing risk of government/regulatory attention," Jonas said. "We believe as Tesla's share price declines, the likelihood of the company potentially seeking alternatives from strategic/industrial/financial partners rises."