Tesla (TSLA) Shares Plunge on Viral Car Fire Footage

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tesla Motors (TSLA) shares continued their steep decline on Thursday, falling 6.5% to $169.17 as of 12:25 p.m. EST. Since Tuesday, shares have dropped 12.44%.

This comes after footage of a Tesla model car on fire went viral. The driver of the car said the fire started after a collision in an area near Seattle. A Tesla spokesperson said a metal object hit one of the battery pack's modules at the front of the vehicle and caused the fire. No one was injured.

In August, Tesla was awarded the highest safety rating of any car ever tested by the independent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The drop in share price was also the result of a downgrade to neutral from wealth management company Robert Baird on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday, Deutsche Bank analyst Dan Galves restated his Buy rating and price target of $200.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Tesla Motors as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate Tesla Motors (TSLA) a SELL. This is driven by some concerns, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been poor profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The gross profit margin for Tesla Motors is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 30.28%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -7.52% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Automobiles industry and the overall market, Tesla Motors' return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Tesla Motors reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, Tesla Motors reported poor results of -$3.70 vs. -$2.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (59 cents vs. -$3.70).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Automobiles industry. The net income increased by 71.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$105.6 million to -$30.5 million.
  • This stock has increased by 584.96% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the future course of this stock, we feel that the risks involved in investing in TSLA do not compensate for any future upside potential, despite the fact that it has seen nice gains over the past 12 months.

Written by Keris Alison Lahiff.

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