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Tesla shares break out on a $316 price target, China news

By Claudia Assis

Tesla Motors Inc. shares rallied Wednesday as Pacific Crest Securities put a $316 price target on the stock and on news the car maker had resolved a trademark dispute in China.

A research note by Morgan Stanley singing the praises of Tesla’s upcoming crossover Model X also contributed to the stock move, analysts said.

Morgan Stanley, which has a $320 price target on the stock and has Tesla as its top pick in U.S. car makers, said the Model X is likely to be even more successful than the Model S sedan and will be “ready to feast” on the premium SUV market.

Pacific Crest joined Morgan Stanley as one of the Tesla super-bulls on Wednesday, rating the stock “outperform” and saying there’s upside potential for the stock if Tesla is able to ramp up its production faster.

Morgan Stanley’s $320 price target, Dougherty & Co.’s $325, and now Pacific Crest’s $316 are at the top of the range for Tesla. Most investment banks, while also rating the electric car maker a buy, have price targets around the $250 to $275 mark.

One of the lowest price targets is Goldman Sachs’s, which last week reaffirmed its “neutral” stance on Tesla and raised its target to $210 from $200, implying a 16% downside to recent stock price.

From China came news earlier Wednesday Tesla had amicably settled a dispute with a businessman who had trademarked “Tesla” in that country years before the arrival of the car maker.

China is a key market for China, and Wall Street is following closely how the company will handle its distribution and servicing there.

Tesla shares were recently up 4.4%, their largest net increase since June 16, when prices went up more than $18. A close at the current level would be Tesla’s highest in five months.