Tesla Inc shares (TSLA) are off more than 2% in premarket trading Tuesday after Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi downgraded the stock to underperform from market perform, while maintaining a $900 price target. "Despite our relatively bullish stance on electric vehicle evolution, and structural advantages we believe Tesla may hold, we find it difficult to justify Tesla's current valuation even under our most bullish/imaginative scenarios," he wrote in a note to clients. Saccaonaghi said he understood the bull case on Tesla, involving the company's market leadership in an underpenetrated industry and Tesla's potential for margin expansion, but called the current valuation "mind boggling" as "Tesla now even looks expensive versus large cap growth tech." He said the company's enterprise value is currently the same as that of Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.TO) and Volkswagen AG while those companies make a collective 20 million cars versus Tesla's 500,000. "To be clear, we are not calling on investors to short Tesla's stock, which - given recent price momentum - would probably be equivalent to us recommending investors to step in front of a barreling freight train," Saccaonaghi wrote. Instead he is "merely noting that on a 12 month time horizon (and even more so, a multi-year time horizon), it has become increasingly difficult for us to imagine how Tesla's stock can continue to outperform the S&P500, mirroring our broader skepticism about the sustainability of the growth's outperformance in the tech sector amid the current once-in-a-decade widening of valuation spreads." Tesla shares have gained 268% so far this year as the S&P 500 has risen 0.3%.
-Emily Bary; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 28, 2020 07:52 ET (11:52 GMT)
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