Tesla shares hit record closing price


Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks at an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020.

Aly Song | Reuters

Tesla shares hit a record closing price of $949.92 on Monday after opening at $919, partly in response to electric vehicle sales data out of China for the month of May. 

According to the China Passenger Car Association, Tesla sold 11,095 of its made-in-Shanghai Model 3 electric sedans to China-based customers in May, Reuters reported.

Overall, Tesla vehicle sales in China increased by 205% from a slump in April attributed to Covid-19 impacts on consumers and businesses in China, including Tesla’s own. Tesla sold fewer than 4,000 vehicles in China in April.

The electric vehicle maker hit its earlier record closing price of $917.42 in February 2019. 

In 2019, Tesla received significant government support to set up its Shanghai car factory. For example, local banks invested $1.6 billion in the manufacturing facility, and local authorities helped Tesla quickly secure permits to acquire the land, while China allowed Tesla to operate the factory independently, without a local joint venture.

This year, Shanghai hastened to help Elon Musk reopen the company’s plant in China after Covid-19 struck the region, including with donations of personal protective equipment, and more.

In response to the May sales numbers out of China, Wedbush Securities’ Dan Ives, a Tesla bull, wrote: “We believe that the China growth story is worth $300 per share to Tesla as this EV penetration is set to ramp significantly over the next 12 to 18 months in a more normalized backdrop. We maintain our neutral rating and $800 price target with our bull case target at $1,350”

JL Warren Capital– a China-focused equity research firm in New York– said sales of the made-in-China Model 3 were driven by discounts and subsidies. 

In a note to investors last week, JL Warren Capital researchers noted that there had been a shift in demand away from long-range to short-range vehicles, driven by pricing changes and subsidies available for buyers in China: 

“The sharp drop in the number of LR [long-range] orders in May is the result of a price cut of ~11% starting on May 1st for the M3 SR [short-range]. Due to Tesla’s whimsical pricing changes, Chinese consumers are delaying purchases hoping for further price cuts for LR [long-range] after July as the model will no longer eligible for a government subsidy.”


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