Tesla Inc. (TSLA) shares traded higher Monday after analysts at Canaccord Genuity upped their recommendation on the clean-energy carmarker as it moves to reduce the price of its flagship Model 3 sedan.
Canaccord lifted its rating on Tesla to "buy" from "hold", and boosted its price target to $450 a share from a prior estimate of $330, as it argued that electric vehicle penetration in markets around the world isn't fully-appreciated by investors on Wall Street. Canaccord also said it wasn't concerned about an upcoming conversion of a bond issue, given the group's solid operating cash flow levels and its current cash balance of around $3.7 billion.
"We believe the last two quarters and recent guidance for Q1 have removed significant concerns for both production capability and profitability of the critical Model 3. As such, we see a more stable 2019 with far fewer concerns for investors in the company," said Canaccord analyst Jed Dorsheimer. "We view the recent string of price cuts as further proof that the cost cutting and right sizing that the company has undertaken are resulting in concrete movement towards the ultimate goal of an affordable $35,000 Model 3."
Tesla shares rose 2.3% to $312.84 on Monday.
Tesla faces a $920 million payment next month if its share price doesn't rise past $359.87 each as investors in a previously-issued convertible bond opt for either cash or shares in the company. Tesla said on January 29 that its has "sufficient cash on hand to comfortably settle in cash our convertible bond that will mature in March 2019."
Last month, Tesla said it will cut around 7% of its workforce and cautioned that fourth quarter profits will likely come in lower than in the previous three-month period.
The electric carmaker reported quarterly revenue of $7.23 billion and non-GAAP EPS of $1.93. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected revenue of $7.12 billion and non-GAAP EPS of $2.20 for the quarter.
Musk also noted that, while fourth quarter deliveries were "almost as many cars as we did in all of 2017", the group still needed to reduce prices in order to make products that were "cost-competitive with fossil fuels."