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Why Share Analysts Keep Chasing Tesla shares Higher and Higher

Why Share Analysts Keep Chasing Tesla Higher and Higher

By Jon C. Ogg

Tesla  has yet a new “street high” analyst price target. What is amazing here is that analysts keep chasing this stock ever higher, almost every week.

It was just recently that we asked if Tesla shares could ultimately be worth more than GM in market value. It turns out that General Motors has a market cap of $55 billion versus $35 billion for Tesla. But the new “street high” price target is now up at $400.

24/7 Wall St. again is seeing that analysts keep chasing this stock higher. This trend has been in place for some time, and here is what the analyst community is thinking above and beyond the major stock upgrade seen on Tuesday.

Stifel raised Tesla to Buy from Hold to start off September, and it assigned a $400 price target. The upgrade was after a site visit showed a staggering rate of change from a year ago. Stifel now does not see the demand risk being an issue until late in the decade because competitors have been unwilling to fully invest in competition. Some of the jump in the opinion is based on increased price expectations for the coming Model X.

Over the long weekend, Barron’s wrote that Tesla closed at a record high on Friday valued at 80 times expected 2015 earnings. The publication called this “exuberance of investors who may be less than rational.”

On August 20, the firm CLSA initiated coverage on Tesla with an Outperform rating and a $300 price target. The take here was that Tesla has big risks and big return potential. CLSA’s team thinks that Tesla is on its way to a sustainable position in the auto industry. This was even after the note that Tesla’s warranty would hurt future earnings.

In Tesla’s most recent earnings report, Tesla reported continued deliveries and revenue growth. Still, Standard & Poor’s issued a junk bond rating on its ratings review of Tesla.

Deutsche Bank raised Tesla to Buy from Hold on August 11. In the call, it raised Tesla’s share price target to $310 from $220. The firm said that it expected that Tesla will have a much higher growth rate than previously anticipated, along with lower production costs. It saw 2015 unit deliveries of 60,000, up from 51,000 and growing to 100,000 in 2016 (up from 60,000 prior) and growing to 129,000 in 2017 (up from 83,000 prior).

Pacific Crest had initiated coverage on Tesla on August 6 with an Outperform rating and a $316 target price. The firm opined that Tesla matches up well against other auto manufacturers and is projected to have a high growth trajectory going forward into 2016 — again the note of building up into a sustainable position in the auto industry.

Another commonality in the factors driving up analyst ratings is the expected launch of the Model X. Tesla shares were up over 4.3% at $281.34 in mid-afternoon trading on Tuesday, after having hit yet another new all-time high of $284.89 on the same day.

We would point out that the new consensus analyst price target has raised itself handily, but the consensus price target on the stock is still closer to $251.

On Tuesday’s upgrade by Stifel, let’s just assume for argument’s sake that Stifel is correct and the stock will reach $400. The market cap at that level would be right around $50 billion. GM’s market cap above $55 billion might not be formally threatened, assuming the bulk of GM’s recall woes are behind it.