The fortune of the world’s richest person, Tesla chief Elon Musk, soared by $14.5 billion Tuesday, as shares of his electric vehicle maker rose 9.4%, outpacing the tech heavy Nasdaq’s 2.5% rebound from last week’s decline. Analysts attributed Tesla’s outperformance to both comments by Musk and broader market factors.
Referring to an interview Musk granted to Bloomberg at the Qatar Economic Forum Tuesday in which the Tesla chief highlighted the size of the company’s order backlog, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said that “positive demand comments from Musk have resonated with the Street and given some confidence in this white knuckle macro environment.” In the interview, Musk reiterated his concerns about a recession and the need to downsize Tesla’s workforce, but investors appear to have zeroed in on his comments downplaying the threat of competition, and identifying supply constraints as the main obstacle to fulfilling the company’s robust demand.
“As anyone knows who has tried to order a Tesla, the demand for our cars is extremely high and the wait list is long,” Musk told Bloomberg. “This is not intentional and we’re increasing production capacity as fast as humanly possible.”
According to RiskReversal Advisors’ founder and principal Dan Nathan, this commentary may have been encouraging to investors “buying into what they think is a ‘make the quarter at any cost mentality’ as Musk is known to send out encouraging messages to employees as he did last week.” Nathan adds that “over the last year, shares of Tesla in the last month of each quarter have had huge rallies in the last couple weeks of the month from their lows.” But he also cautions that Musk’s comments about a recession and lingering China production issues “might be setting investors up for a miss on Q2 deliveries and earnings.”
GLJ Research CEO Gordon Johnson says that Tesla’s soaring stock price is due to broader market factors, noting that with stocks coming off their worst week since March 2020 last week, “the 14-day relative strength index of the S&P 500 suggests the stock market is currently oversold, and high-beta stocks like Tesla were due for a bounce.” (Stocks with high beta coefficients generally move more than the broad market in either direction.)
“But none of this is fundamental,” says Johnson, a Tesla bear, who says he expects the company’s Q2 deliveries and earnings to disappoint. “Thus, with Tesla trading at a ~50x forward P/E multiple vs. 4.6x for its peer group, we see any fundamental disappointments as likely sending the shares lower.”
That prospect may be daunting for both Tesla investors and the company’s TechnoKing Elon Musk. But at least for now, he remains the world’s richest person by a longshot, worth $228.4 billion, according to Forbes’ estimates–-$88 billion more than No. 2 richest Bernard Arnault of French luxury conglomerate LVMH.
By Matt Durot, Forbes Staff