Tesla sliding despite better than expected quarter as Model 3 concerns remain

Shares of Tesla (TSLA) are slipping despite announcing smaller than expected quarterly losses and saying it is sticking to its latest Model 3 production targets. While some Wall Street analysts raised their price targets on the shares following the electric carmaker's report of results, other remain concerned over the ramp-up of the Model 3 and the company's cash burn. RESULTS: Last night, Tesla reported a fourth quarter loss per share of ($3.04) and revenue of $3.29B, above consensus of ($3.12) and $3.28B, respectively. Tesla also announced fourth quarter deliveries of 29,967 vehicles, including 1,542 Model 3s, and said it still targets weekly Model 3 production rates of 2,500 by end of the first quarter and 5,000 by the end of the second quarter. The carmarker added that Model 3 net reservations remained stable in Q4, and notes it sees Model S and Model X deliveries of about 100,000 in 2018. PRICE TARGET RAISED: Following the quarterly report, Piper Jaffray analyst Alexander Potter raised his price target for Tesla to $385 from $362 saying he thinks most of the news in the fourth quarter was positive. Model 3 production delays had already been disclosed last quarter, and apparently no new problems have arisen in recent months, Potter noted, adding that this suggests a production run-rate of 5,000 units per week may be achievable in 2018. Additionally, the analyst pointed out that cash flow was "solid," with Tesla seeming confident that positive operating income can be achieved at some point in 2018. He reiterated an Overweight rating on the shares. His peer at Deutsche Bank also raised his price target for Tesla to $365 from $310, highlighting that its cash burn subsided in the quarter. One of the more noteworthy financial developments was that Tesla ended Q4 with $3.4B in cash, down just slightly from the $3.5B in Q3, analyst Rod Lache told investors. The analyst also believes that if Tesla's targets are reached, the company can achieve $28 per share in earnings by 2020. He reiterated a Hold rating on the shares. MODEL 3, CASH BURN CONCERNS REMAIN: In a research note to investors, UBS analyst Colin Langan argued that Tesla's fourth quarter beat was due to several one-time items, including ZEV credits and one-time working capital benefits, and said he is still cautious on the company's cash burn rate and Model 3 production ramp. Langan reiterated his Sell rating and $195 price target on the stock. His peer at Cowen voiced a similar opinion. Analyst Jeffrey Osborne said he believes production targets remain too aggressive, while pointing out that Model 3 deposits were flat quarter over quarter. Osborne reiterated an Underperform rating on the stock, but raised his price target on the shares to $200 from $180. Meanwhile, Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois told investors in a research note of his own that he views Tesla's fourth quarter numbers as "reassuring overall" since free cash flow was better. However, the analyst believes the quarter is "somewhat reflected" in the recent share price recovery. He reiterated an Underperform rating and $240 price target on the stock. PRICE ACTION: In morning trading, shares of Tesla have dropped about 3.5% to $332.73.

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