Tesla’s stock plunges as Elon Musk warns of slower growth in 2024

Click to play video: 'Will Elon Musk’s controversial comments impact success of Tesla’s Cybertruck launch?'
Will Elon Musk’s controversial comments impact success of Tesla’s Cybertruck launch?
Tesla delivered the first batch of its long-awaited electric pickup truck, the Cybertruck, to customers on Thursday. Joe Scarpelli reports on the ongoing controversy surrounding Musk and how it could impact Tesla's business – Nov 30, 2023

Tesla tumbled seven per cent on Thursday after CEO Elon Musk warned sales growth would slow this year despite price cuts that have already hurt margins and raised investor concerns at the world’s most valuable automaker.

Musk said growth would be “notably lower” as Tesla focuses on a next-generation electric vehicle to be made at its Texas factory in the second half of 2025, which is expected to spark the next boom in deliveries.

But his remarks fell flat with investors, with Tesla set to lose about $50 billion in market value, if premarket loss hold. Its stock was already down 16.4% this month, as of last close.

“The Tesla headlines have essentially gone from bad to ‘not worse,” said TD Cowen analysts, noting that the fourth-quarter revenue and profit were also below expectations.

Shares of other EV makers also fell, with Rivian Automotive Inc, Lucid Group and Fisker down between 1.2 per cent and 2.4 per cent.

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Tesla recalls 2M cars to fix autopilot issue after 2-year investigation

The EV industry has been grappling with a slowdown in demand for more than a year and the price cuts by Tesla will likely worsen the pressure on the startups and automakers such as Ford.

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“The problem for Tesla is any significant attempt to boost sales from here on will probably need to be achieved at the cost of further falls in operating margin, due to having to compete with BYD in China, as well as increased competition elsewhere,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

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At least 10 brokerages raised their price targets on Tesla, while four raised their outlook. The median price target now stood at $225, nearly 9% higher than the share’s last closing price.

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The company’s stock trades at nearly 60 times its 12-month forward earnings estimates, according to LSEG data. That gives it a more premium valuation than the other “Magnificent Seven” stocks – a group that includes Apple, Microsoft and Nvidia.

Some analysts said valuation could become tough to justify if Tesla’s sales growth and margin weaken further.

“Tesla is increasingly looking like a traditional auto company,” said Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi.

(Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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