Goldman Turns Less Bearish On Tesla Motors – TSLA

Goldman Sachs (GS) analysts, perhaps Tesla (TSLA)’s most vocal bears, have turned slightly less bearish on the the upstart automaker after the company beat EPS and revenue forecasts after Wednesday’s close.

Citing the company’s continued revenue gains and improved margins — Tesla reported 1Q’14 revenue gains of $713 million, up 27% from a year ago, and non-GAAP gross margin that saw a 20 bps improvement sequentially — Goldman raised their FY2014 EPS target to $1.21 a share from $0.68, but also noted the following point:

[via MW] “We are still meaningfully below published consensus of $1.78 … we believe consensus will come down on increased [operating] expense guidance. Our price target remains $200.”

The Goldman research lists two key risks to Tesla’s near-term targets: the decline in North America Tesla Model S sales and the timing of its Gigafactory, the $5 billion lithium-ion battery plant that Elon Musk plans to begin building next year. Any delays on the factory, notes the research, are seen as a setback since the factory is extremely important to Tesla’s growth as an electric car maker.

Tesla shares closed down $22.76, or -11.30%, to end at $178.59 per share on Thursday. The stock following a strong run in 2013, is well off its $265 February high. Nevertheless, the name, which is one of the best performing names on the Nasdaq, is still up 18.72% since Jan. 1

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