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April 25, 2019 12:45 PM, EDT

Tesla Loses Another Bull as Analyst Dubs Period ‘Top Debacle’

A Tesla Inc. Model S electric vehicle A Tesla Inc. Model S electric vehicle on display at a showroom in Hong Kong, China. (Justin Chin/Bloomberg News)

Tesla Inc.’s latest first quarter was “one of top debacles” ever seen in 20 years of covering tech stocks on the Street, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said April 25.

The analyst said the company’s guidance was aggressive, and management was not doing enough to cut costs, preserve capital and provide a sustained path to profitability. “Musk & Co. in an episode out of the ‘The Twilight Zone’ act as if demand and profitability will magically return to the Tesla story,” Ives said.

We continue to feel robotaxis, insurance products, and other endeavors are distractions from the growing demand woes that are not being addressed, which is a critical worry of ours at this juncture.

Analyst Daniel Ives

He downgraded the stock to the equivalent of a hold from buy and slashed his price target to $275 from $365. Ives is no stranger to tech debacles either, such as Apple Inc.’s profit warning in January that shaved $75 billion off the iPhone maker’s market cap in a single day and prompted Ives to cut his price target on Apple by more than a quarter.

Tesla shares dropped as much as 4% in New York April 25 after the company reported a much wider-than-expected quarterly loss, reiterated its production outlook for the year and hinted at the possibility of a capital raise post-market on April 24.

“At this point, the writing is on the wall that Tesla will likely have to raise over $3 billion of capital in the near term to sustain its capex and debt needs given its current profitability path, which is another black cloud over the name with an inexperienced CFO now at the helm,” Ives wrote in a note to clients. “We continue to feel robotaxis, insurance products, and other endeavors are distractions from the growing demand woes that are not being addressed, which is a critical worry of ours at this juncture.”

The rest of Wall Street wasn’t exactly jubilant either, with RBC’s Joseph Spak saying the results were “uglier than expected.” The company now has 15 analysts rating it a sell, compared with 12 rating it a buy and nine with hold ratings.