What's the Downside for Tesla?

05/22/2019 5:00 am EST


Karee Venema

Financial Writer, Schaeffer's Investment Research

Schaeffer's Investment Research is a leading provider of stock and options trading recommendations and market commentary. In its recent Midday Market Check, analyst Karee Venema looks at what she called a "shocking bear base" for Tesla Inc. (TSLA).

Morgan Stanley slashed its bear forecast on Tesla Inc. to $10 from $97, saying the downwardly revised worst-case scenario assumes a major miss for "Chinese volume forecast ... to account for the highly volatile trade situation in the region, particularly around areas of technology, which we believe run a high and increasing risk of government/regulatory attention."

However, analyst Adam Jonas maintained his $230 price target for Tesla — a nearly 12% premium to Monday night's close at $205.36.

Baird also chimed in on Tesla overnight, cutting its target price for the stock to $340 from $400, still in territory not charted since late January. In reaction, TSLA shares were initially trading below the $200 mark.

It's already been a rough stretch for the equity, which has closed lower in nine of the past 10 sessions — due in part to a series of fundamental follies, including CEO Elon Musk's cash flow warning and Autopilot issues — and bottomed at a two-year low of $195.25 yesterday. Year-to-date, TSLA is down 38.3%.

As such, the car stock is at risk of more price-target cuts. While, the majority of the 23 analysts covering TSLA maintain a "hold" or worse rating on the equity, the average 12-month price target sits all the way up at $277.75.

Options traders would certainly welcome more downside. At the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX), TSLA's 10-day put/call volume ratio of 1.21 ranks in the 84th annual percentile, meaning puts have been bought to open over calls at a quicker-than-usual clip.

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