Tesla Inc. (TSLA) is ripping through cash.
At the electric automaker's current cash burn rate, it could run its reserves dry in as little as four quarters, UBS analysts wrote in a note Monday, Oct. 30. The analysts reiterated a "sell" rating on Tesla stock.
Assuming Tesla has about $1 billion in cash, it might only be able to keep up for another year, UBS said. To compound its free cash flow troubles, Tesla also has about $1.4 billion in debt that will come due by the end of 2018.
Tesla shares have gained 50% year-to-date, UBS wrote, despite the fact that consensus earnings estimates have toppled during the same period to a loss of $2.28 from previous estimates of a loss of 65 cents.
Tesla is scheduled to report third quarter earnings Wednesday, Nov. 1, after the closing bell. UBS said the report will likely serve as a negative catalyst for shares. In their Monday note, UBS analysts assigned Tesla a price target of $185, which represents about a 42% downside for the stock.
Analysts polled by FactSet expect Tesla will report negative free cash flow of $1.2 billion in the third quarter.
Tesla's impressive gains so far this year were mostly based on initial Model 3 production timelines, UBS noted. But as Model 3 deliveries continue to whiff on promises, Tesla has undermined its own credibility and increased near-term risks.
Happy Monday, Elon Musk.
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