Tesla Sees Few Upsides Through Year End

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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) lost another large chunk of value in trading on Monday. The company’s shares have been trending down for the last month or so on the back of worries about the safety of the company’s cars and profit taking behavior from the company’s investors. For those still holding the company’s stock there is a clear problem. There seems little upside through the end of the year, and after that upside may be limited.

The upside that Tesla took advantage of in the early months of the year was based on a story, and on associated momentum. It is possible that investors will follow the same tale to $190 once more, but it is unlikely that will happen before the end of the year. Investors looking to close off good returns for the full year are likely to stay away from that volatility during the holiday season.

Upside Catalysts Rare At Tesla

If Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock is going to increase before the end of 2013, it will need something to drive it. Unfortunately there seems to be nothing on the horizon that could increase the value of the stock appreciably. Tesla will not release another earnings report until 2014, it will not release a new car until 2015 at the earliest, and it is unlikely to see major positives from government policy or marketing initiatives.

That means that the valuation of the company’s shares through the end of the year is likely to be based on the same factors that drove pricing in recent months: the power of a story, and speculative growth models. There is almost nothing set to arrive in the next two months that could drive the firm’s shares back toward $200, though it might head that direction on reaffirmation of the bubble.

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) rode a wave of analyst reports to its $190 per share valuation. They are the only thing likely to drive the price of the shares upward in the closing weeks of 2013. It is unclear whether the market has become immune to the optimism of spectators in the wake of the collapse in price, but bubbles have proven easy to re-inflate in the past.

Tesla Charging Ahead

Tesla doesn’t have to care about its share price unless it is planning a new offering in the coming months. The company has given no indication that it will seek further equity financing and the instability of its share price should help dissuade management from making a decision like that.

The company that Tesla stock is supposed to represent is still doing well. Sales may no longer be setting the world on fire and the company’s brand may be less than perfect, but Tesla is building an electric car that works and its margins are on track to make it meaningfully profitable. Tesla stock may not have much upside through the end of 2013, but the company’s business will continue to grow.

Disclosure: Author has no position in any stocks mentioned, nor does he plan to initiate one in the next 48 hours.