Tesla Shares Gain After Canaccord Boosts Price Target Past $500

Tesla's China rollout, as well as its planned expansion in Europe, should offset slower U.S. sales in 2020 and continue to support the clean-energy carmaker's profitability, according to Canaccord Genuity's Jed Dorsheimer.

Tesla Inc.  (TSLA) - Get Report shares were indicated higher in pre-market trading Thursday after analysts at Canaccord Genuity boosted their price target on the clean-energy carmaker past $500 ahead of next week's fourth quarter delivery report.

Canaccord analyst Jed Dorsheimer said Tesla's burgeoning business in China, where customers will start receiving Model 3 sedans on January 7, and its developing footprint in Europe will offset slowing U.S. sales this year, while Model Y production will increase Tesla's overall capacity thanks to platforms shared with benchmark Model 3. Dorsheimer lifted his price target on Tesla by $140, to $515 per share, and expects fourth quarter deliveries to bring its 2019 total past 360,000 units.

"While bears have feared demand issues as a function of tax credit expiration for Tesla, we suspect a solid Q4 combined with the robust Q3 should put these fears to rest and put to rest this issue as the credit expires," Dorsheimer said. "As Model 3s roll off Tesla’s Chinese manufacturing facility with local subsidies intact, we believe the US-based focus will need to shift globally for the company. With deliveries beginning in China at the end of December, this market will be an important driver for the company in 2020."

Tesla shares were marked 1.4% higher in early trading Thursday to change hands at $423.90 each, a move that would extend the stock's six-month gain to around 89.2%.

Late last month, Reuters reported that Tesla has agreed a $1.4 billion loan from a consortium of banks in China that will help it expand production at its Shanghai factory. The five-year loan will both rollover an existing facility and help Tesla expand the Shanghai plant, its first outside of the United States, towards it goal of producing 1,000 Model 3 sedans each week that will be sold in the world's biggest car market.

Bloomberg, meanwhile, reported that Tesla is moving closer to buying a 740 acre plot of land in the German state of Brandenburg, home to Volkswagen AG, Daimler and BMW, as part of its plans to build a so-called "gigafactory" outside of the capital city of Berlin that will create 10,000 jobs and produce 500,000 cars are year when it's fully up-and-running.

TheStreet's founder, Jim Cramer, explained last  month that his own conversion into a Tesla bull -- after years of concern for the antics of founder and CEO Elon Musk -- was based partly on the fact that it's one of the few car companies in the world that is indicating any kind of sales momentum heading into the coming year.

"I never mind flamboyant CEOs, but I have to admit I hated the way he tweeted like mad and taunted both the analysts, and more importantly, the SEC," Cramer said. "All of that ended though when he agreed as part of some weirdo SEC ruling to stop the incendiary tweeting and, on the last conference call he revealed his true rigor without the sardonic quips."

"That made me realize that he will have no problem negotiating with either the Chinese government for his Gigafactory built in record time or the coming gargantuan German factory for that matter," he added.