This week has been a wild ride for Tesla(TSLA) shares.
The stock made new 52-week lows on Wednesday and again on Thursday following two bearish analyst notes from Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, adding to its year-to-date losses of over 40%. Morgan Stanley's worst-case scenario had Tesla shares dropping to $10, while Citi saw a 40% chance of the stock falling to $36.
But the stock managed to bounce off its lows on Thursday, ending the day over 1% higher after CEO Elon Musk told employees the company made an average of 900 Model 3 cars per day this week. That brings Tesla closer to its stated goal of producing 7,000 cars per week.
Experts are split on what this means for the electric-auto maker. Here's what four of them are watching now:
John Petrides, managing director and portfolio manager at independent advisory firm Point View Wealth Management, wasn't thrilled about the company's prospects:
"As a value manager, I don't see value in the company yet. I mean, the valuations are still too high. You have a company burning through cash flow, they have balance sheet issues, you have a wildcard of a CEO, you have board members not seeking reelection. I mean, you finally have the shine … coming off the car. And that's what you're seeing happening in the stock right now, and it's still unattractive for my taste."
Roth Capital Partners' Craig Irwin, a senior research analyst who covers Tesla for the firm, said the company still stacks up fairly well against its more staid competitors:
"Culturally, Tesla's a very different company than the automotive guys that they compete with, right? So, the automotive guys are about making money, so selling units is very important, but the profitability and the margins and the dollar margins [are] very, very important. Tesla's about growth and going after a massive new market. If we see a go-slow from the automotive guys, the traditional automotive guys, continue to be the status quo, that would end up being positive for Tesla."
Gabe Hoffman, founder of hedge fund Accipiter Capital Management, didn't share Irwin's cautious optimism:
"I believe that, ultimately, Tesla will go to zero. Any company that's losing billions of dollars and struggling under a mountain of over $10 billion in debt and over $3 billion of current accounts payable due on the desk, that's a real problem."
S&P Global Market Intelligence research analyst Erin Gibbs said it's about time the negativity around Tesla is priced into the stock:
"Some of these negative calls, I've been waiting for them. I think between … the first negative report we had back in February, having to pay $1 billion out in debt in March, and basically having a really big negative headline almost every single month for this year, I think it's about time that people wake up and say, 'Hey, something's really fundamentally wrong and our estimates really need to change.'"