Bearish Morgan Stanley Note Stalls Tesla Stock

Morgan Stanley slashed its near- and long-term margin forecasts

by Patrick Martin

Published on May 15, 2018 at 10:11 AM
Updated on May 15, 2018 at 11:05 AM

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock is down 2.3% to trade at $285.20 this morning, after Morgan Stanley issued a price-target cut to $291 from $376 and slashed its profitability forecasts. The analyst in coverage expressed concerns about Model 3 production and the recent executive turnover, saying TSLA is trading near fair value. On the other hand, Electrek just got its hands on an internal email from the company suggesting Model 3 production is set to pick up dramatically this week.

The new price target actually sits just above Tesla's closing price from yesterday. The equity fell to an annual low of $244.59 on April 2, and the subsequent rally has been capped by the $310 area on multiple occasions. Overall, the stock has shed 8.4% in 2018, and has underperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 13 percentage points in the past three months -- though earlier it bounced from familiar support near the $280 level.

It's no surprise then that short sellers continue to pile on the electric car name. Short interest increased by another 23% in the two most recent reporting periods to a record high 39.09 million shares. This represents a hefty 31% of TSLA's total available float, and more than seven days of pent-up buying power, at the average pace of trading.

Near-term options traders have seemingly been more bearish than normal, as well. This is according to Tesla's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 1.53, which ranks in the 89th percentile of its annual range, suggesting options traders are more put-biased than normal, judging by open interest levels in contracts expiring within three months.


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