Mon. Feb 6th, 2023


Tesla Will Sell More EVs After the Price Cuts. 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Jan. 19, 2023 10:33 am ET
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Down, down, down go Wall Street’s earnings estimates, profit margin projections and stock price targets for Tesla.

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Tesla cut prices dramatically this month in the U.S. and overseas. There’s no consensus on Wall Street on the effect on earnings or the price of the stock. One thing analysts do agree on is that Tesla will sell more cars.

Wednesday evening, Piper Sandler analyst Alexander Potter cut his price target on Tesla stock (ticker: TSLA) to $300 from $340, but kept a Buy rating. One reason he is still positive on shares is that with lower prices, Tesla can grow delivery volumes greater than 50% in 2023.

Tesla delivered just over 1.3 million electric vehicles in 2022. Before the cuts, Wall Street was projecting about 1.8 million sold in 2023. Now sales estimates have crept above 1.9 million units, implying about 45% growth from 2022.

The range of estimates now runs from about 1.7 million to 2.1 million units.

Even with higher volumes, lower prices can result in lower profit margins if costs don’t fall in line with sales. Potter added in his research report, however, that he “wouldn’t be shocked,” if profit margins come in better than expected.

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Wall Street now projects 2023 operating-profit margins will come in at about 17.2%, according to FactSet. That’s down from prior expectations of about 19.8% before price cuts were announced.

Tesla is expected to produce operating-profit margins of about 17.3% for the full year 2022. Fourth-quarter numbers are due out on Jan. 25. Fourth-quarter operating-profit margins are forecasted to be about 18.3%.

The lower projections for operating profit and profit margins for this coming year have resulted in lowered earnings-per-share estimates too. Wall Street now projects about 2023 earnings per share of about $4.85, down from $5.50 before the price cuts.

The range of earnings-per-share estimates for 2023 runs from about $3 to $8, compared with about $4 to $8 before the price cuts. It looks like 26 out of 40 analysts have cut estimates in recent weeks, according to FactSet. The top of the range estimates look a little stale.

Finally, target prices have followed earnings estimates, and the stock price, lower. With Potter’s cut, the average analyst price target is at about $214, down more than $100 a share over the past three months.

The top price targets are in the range of $300, close to Potter’s. Before all the price cuts, the top analyst price target came from New Street Research analyst Pierre Ferragu. His old target was $530 a share, but he cut it to $320 a share earlier this month.

The lowest price targets are in the range of $85. The spread, from low to high, spans roughly $230—almost 200% of Tesla’s current stock price. The bull-bear spread for Toyota Motor (TM) shares is 50% of its current stock price.

Tesla remains a controversial stock on the Street. Analysts don’t agree about much about the EV company.

Coming into Thursday trading, Tesla stock is actually up about 4.3% since the U.S. price cuts implemented around Jan. 12. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are down about 1.3% and 0.4%, respectively, in that time frame.

That shows that, despite all Wall Street’s cuts, investors were ready for what Tesla did.

Tesla stock is off 0.7% in Thursday morning trading at $127.85. The broader market is lower, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite down 0.6% and 0.9%, respectively.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

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Tesla Will Sell More EVs After the Price Cuts. Wall Street Sees Everything Else Falling.

Tesla cut prices dramatically this month in the U.

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