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Tesla Stock Gains On Record China Sales, Morgan Stanley Price Target Boost

Record China sales, as well as a price target boost from Morgan Stanley, has Tesla shares on the move again Tuesday.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report shares moved higher again Tuesday, trading firmly over the $1,000 mark, following data from China showing record December sales in the world's biggest car market.

The China Passenger Car Association said Tesla sold 70,847 China-made cars last month, nearly three times that total recorded last year and more than a third ahead of November's pace. 

Tesla said on January 2 that global deliveries for the three months ending in December rose 70% from last year to 308,600 units, its sixth consecutive quarterly record, taking the 2021 total to 936,172 units.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, who carries a base target price on Tesla stock of $1,400, with a bull case target of $1,800, said China will account for around 40% of the carmaker's deliveries in 2022. 

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Founder and CEO Elon Musk hinted last month that the Tesla Plaid, the carmaker's new a $140,000 luxury sedan with a top speed of 200 miles per hour, will "probably" be coming to China in early March.

Tesla shares were marked 0.15% higher in early Tuesday trading, against a 0.6% decline for the Nasdaq, to change hands at $1,059.30 each, a move that would extend the stock's six-month gain to around 56%.

The stock was also given an early Tuesday boost from a price target upgrade at Morgan Stanley, with analyst Adam Jonas pegging the shares at $1,300 each, a $100 improvement from his prior forecast. 

“We believe there are signs that the industry leader is accelerating its lead over its EV peers, which should not be construed as a positive for the broader sector," Jonas said.

"While Tesla is not our top EV pick, it’s arguably our most ‘important’ stock pick," Jonas added. "Not owning Tesla means not owning the one company that could make all other EV names obsolete." 

Tesla shares were tabbed as a 'top pick' for 2022 by Goldman analyst Mark Delaney on Monday with an improved price target of $1,200 per share.