Tesla Price Target Lifted at Jefferies on Faster EV Adoption

Jefferies nearly doubled its price target on Tesla shares, saying the electric-vehicle producer is "significantly ahead of peers" in the sector.
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The coronavirus pandemic is hastening the shift to electric vehicles and Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Report is "significantly ahead of its peers," according to a Jefferies analyst.

Analyst Phillipe Houchois nearly doubled his price target on the Palo Alto, Calif., EV maker to $1,200 from $650.

Shares of Tesla at last check were up 0.8% to $1,000. 

"We see covid-19 as an accelerator of the transition to EVs and renewables, from consumers and public policy," Houchois said in a note to clients. 

"Tesla remains significantly ahead of peers in product range, capacity and technology. Near term, EV-friendly incentives in the European Union and lower-priced Model 3 support second-half volume, making Tesla more resilient than peers."

Houchois, who has a buy rating on the stock, said costs are improving and volatility in earnings should gradually reduce as the company's China factory ramps up and deferred revenue is recognized. 

Tesla's "[business] model continues to challenge legacy original-equipment manufacturers, from distribution (direct selling getting OEM attention) to capital-expenditure intensity and speed of execution in rolling out product and capacity," he said.

Raising equity is no longer a base case but could be part of a more balanced capital structure to fund growth, the analyst said. Governance remains a hurdle for many investors, he said.

Reuters reported that proxy-advisory firm Glass Lewis has joined consulting firm ISS in opposing the reelection of Tesla's chairwoman, Robyn Denholm, to the board. 

Glass Lewis said it was concerned that Tesla's directors-and-officers arrangement "gives the company's independent directors a direct, personal financial dependency upon the CEO they are tasked with overseeing."

Separately, registrations for Tesla fell 16% year-over-year in April to 6,260 new vehicles, according to research firm Dominion Enterprises. 

That was followed by a steeper drop, 70%, in May registrations in California, to 1,447 new vehicles.

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