By CCN: Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas buried the lede in remarks on Wednesday, in which he touted Tesla’s 73 percent year-over-year increase in US sales for the month of May.
Don't be fooled by spiking numbers
Jonas noted that Tesla delivered 11,300 vehicles in May, which was 2.6 times the combined total of all competitors' offering.
That’s all well and good, and probably why Tesla stock experienced a little bounce this week.
Morgan Stanley has also pegged Tesla to deliver between 360,000 and 400,000 vehicles this year, up 45 percent to 65 percent over last year.
Yet the numbers seem unrealistic given demand problems.
While Elon Musk bulls are slobbering over the possibility of Tesla delivering that many cars this year, they should wipe their mouths. Elon Musk and Tesla have broken many promises in the past.
Elon musk has more to do than just deliver cars
Tesla stock bulls need to realize that delivering cars is only one piece of a complicated puzzle at Tesla right now. Tesla stock has sold off more than 50 percent from its highs as its balance sheet has crumbled, cars explode on their own, autopilot drives people into fatal crashes, and mechanical problems dog Tesla.
The red flags at Tesla have existed almost since inception, leading to a credibility problem for Elon Musk and Tesla stock. Yet so many investors have been dazzled by his optimism and sales ability that they’ve given him an extraordinary long leash and given Tesla stock a valuation that is laughable.
Tesla stock continues to be valued as a tech stock when it's really a manufacturing company.
Tesla is a distressed debt story
Jonas did get a couple of things right in his call, though. He said:
“Tesla is not really seen as a growth story, [but more] like a distressed credit and restructuring story.”
He also said not to expect a tech company white knight to swoop in and save the company.
He’s right, at least for now. Given that Tesla stock will eventually crater to a more realistic valuation, any possible suitor will sit on the sidelines until there’s blood in the streets.
No white knight on the horizon for tesla stock
That’s when a company like Apple, Google, or Amazon might step in. They all have the cash hoard to buy Tesla.
Tesla stock touched $180 per share a few days ago, a price not seen since 2016. If it breaks through that point, the next stop would be $140.
That’s not a price any third party would buy at, though. Nor is Tesla stock going back to $350.
The market cap would be $25 billion. The problem is Tesla burned over $5 billion in cash over the past four years. Any company willing to come in would do so for no more than $15 billion and the guarantee that Elon Musk would never show his face at the company again.