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Tesla Opens At Record High on Morgan Stanley Price Target Boost, Major Order From Hertz

Tesla overtook Facebook as the fifth most-valuable company in the United States Monday following a price target boost from Morgan Stanley and a $4.4 million EV order from Hertz.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report shares surged again Monday, taking the clean-energy carmaker to a fresh all-time high, after analysts at Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on the group following record third quarter profits and deliveries. 

The stock was also given a boost by news that Hertz Global  (HTZ) - Get Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. Report had ordered 100,000 Tesla cars -- which are expected to be delivered by the end of next year -- as it ramps-up the size of its electrified rental fleet.

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas raised his price target on Tesla by $300, to $1,200 per share, while reiterating an "overweight' rating, citing higher vehicle sales volumes in the coming years as the group demonstrates is "manufacturing leadership' in the EV sector.

"The Tesla you see today is the product of pre-COVID, sub $100 billion Tesla," Jonas wrote. "The Tesla you'll likely see over the next 12 to 18 months would demonstrate the capabilities of the trillion dollar Tesla, emphasizing step-changes in manufacturing, cost reduction ... expansion in capacity, model lineup and services offerings."

Tesla shares were marked 5.85% higher in pre-market trading Monday to change hands at $962.78 each, a move that would peg the group's value at around $950 billion - just ahead of the $905 billion valuation for Facebook  (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report.  The stock hit an all-time high of $979.80 earlier in the session.

Tesla posted net income of just over $2 billion for the three months ending in September, alongside the strongest profit margins in the group's history -- 30.5% -- and record sales of $13.7 billion. The blowout figures followed another all-time high in third quarter deliveries, which rose 73.2% from last year to 241,300 units. 

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Non-GAAP earnings were pegged at $1.86 per share, up 135% from the same period last year and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.59 per share.

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Tesla noted in its earnings release that 'a variety of challenges, including semiconductor shortages, congestion at ports and rolling blackouts, have been impacting our ability to keep factories running at full speed", adding that "we are pushing the boundaries on new product and manufacturing technologies at these factories, which makes it difficult to predict the exact pace of the ramp" of production in soon-to-be opened factories in Texas and Berlin. 

Earlier this month, Tesla also unveiled plans to move its headquarters from California, its home for nearly two decades, to Texas, the site of its developing gigafactory and the home of SpaceX.

The decision, announced at the company's annual meeting in San Francisco, follows both Musk' personal move to the Lone Star State and a series of rows between the carmaking billionaire and the California authorities over issues including safety, taxes and COVID-19 precautions.

Musk also pledged to maintain the group's Freemont, California-based plant, adding he hoped to boost production there by 50% over the coming years.