Tesla investors make a surprising move as its stock closed in on $1,000

Brian Sozzi

The average investor has made a smart trade on Tesla (TSLA), for now.

“What we saw as Tesla hit all-time highs [last week] — as it looked like there was money flowing in from pretty much everywhere — we saw our clients selling and taking profits. So last week, our clients were net sellers of Tesla as it was charging up to all-time highs. As it got above $900, we saw a meaningful spike in selling,” said TD Ameritrade strategist Shawn Cruz on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade.

In case you have been living under a rock, Tesla has enjoyed one heck of a February.

Following a second straight quarter of profits and an upbeat earnings call by CEO Elon Musk, Tesla’s stock exploded to an all-time high of $968.99 last week. Pros say the massive move higher was spurred by epic amounts of short covering (thanks to the profitable quarter and a quick ramp at a new factory in China) for a stock that is no stranger to being bet against by traders. While Tesla’s stock has come back down to Earth amid numerous Wall Street analyst downgrades - currently trading around $770 — shares are still up an insane 80% in 2020.

“We are looking for Tesla to trade in the $700 to $800 range unless we get something else that will meaningfully bump it higher or lower,” Cruz said.

That next catalyst for Tesla could very well be its first quarter results, if its last two better than expected quarters are any indication. If Tesla is able to sustain recent demand momentum into 2020, hitting its full-year guidance for 500,000 deliveries could excite investors.

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Tesla vehicles are seen on an assembly line at Tesla's gigafactory in Shanghai, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. Tesla's Shanghai factory delivered its first cars to customers Monday, and chief executive Elon Musk said the electric automaker plans to set up a design center in China to create a model for worldwide sales. (Ding Ting/Xinhua via AP)

“While Tesla shares remain on a historic rally post earnings, the bull party will likely continue in the near-term as the aggressive trajectory of Giga 3 production and demand out of Shanghai look very strong out of the gates with the potential to see 150k units/demand out of the region over the next year in our opinion. While the coronavirus outbreak is a tragic outbreak and headline, fundamentally it should have a negligible impact on Tesla's China growth trajectory in our opinion,” writes Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.

Ives has an Outperform rating on Tesla and high-end price target of $1,000. He thinks Tesla will very likely surpass its 500,000 vehicle delivery guidance for this year.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Watch The First Trade each day here at 9:00 a.m. ET or on Verizon FIOS channel 604. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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