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Barron's Tesla Stock Drops After Morgan Stanley Bull Slashes Estimates, Price Target

Tesla stock looked set to break a brutal two-day slump, rising in early premarket trading Wednesday until one of the biggest Tesla bulls cut his price target on the stock.

Tesla shares were up more than 1% in premarket trading, while futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were up 0.4% and 0.8%, respectively. The rise followed a brutal two-day stretch that took shares down almost 11% to $180.74 from $202.64. But by 8:55 a.m., the stock was down 1.6% at $177.77.

Blame Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas. He cut his price target and estimates—turning a key investor fear into reality.

“A challenging year for EVs…demand continues to decelerate despite continued price cuts,” wrote Jonas in a Tuesday evening report. What’s more, he calls Tesla’s product lineup “relatively aged,” the Chinese EV market “oversupplied” and points out that hybrid vehicles are more of a threat to EVs than previously thought.

As a result, he cut his GAAP EPS estimate to below $1 a share. GAAP stands for generally accepted accounting principles and includes things sometimes excluded by companies such as stock-based compensation. Wall Street’s current consensus is for $2.86 a share, according to FactSet.

It gets worse. Jonas now expects fewer than 2 million deliveries for Tesla in 2024, up about 10% from 2023’s 1.8 million units, but below the 2.1 million units Wall Street is predicting. Jonas’ price target goes to $320 a share from $345. He still rates shares Buy.

Investors have been worried about 2024 deliveries for a while, and it has been the biggest factor impacting stock over the past two days, according to Future Fund Active ETF co-founder Gary Black.

“I believe Wall Street analysts are likely to take first-quarter [delivery] estimates to 435,000 to 450,000 from 475,000 currently,” he noted. A slow start to the year in China, lower EU electric-vehicle incentives, and production hiccups in Fremont are reasons he cites.

Black’s predicted process has started. For his part, Black sees two million units delivered in 2024. He cut his estimate from 2.1 million units after visiting Tesla in Austin.

If there is good news for investors, it’s that the stock is already down on fears of estimate cuts. One bit of good news investors can hold on to is a meeting between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and former President Donald Trump.