Tesla Stock: Prepare for a Drop Before the Next Leg Up

Stock Market

As popular as it may be, electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) can’t always be a darling of the financial markets. One bearish-leaning analyst offered a convincing argument that TSLA stock will lose value. So, investors need to be patient and nimble, even if they believe in Tesla’s growth story for the long term.

Tesla is an EV industry leader, and the company is making a bold move into a country with abundant supplies of an important commodity. The buyers and sellers are in a tug-of-war and Tesla’s shareholders should exercise caution so they don’t get trapped.

Tesla’s New Foray in South America

There’s no denying that Tesla is a global company. It already has significant operations in the U.S., Europe and China. Soon, we’ll be able to add South America to that list.

Recently, Tesla registered a company called Tesla Chile SpA in Chile. Its stated purpose will be the “import, export, manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of vehicles, especially electric vehicles.”

Apparently, Chile has the biggest lithium reserves in the world, but the penetration of EVs there is low. According to a Bloomberg report, back in February, a team of people from Tesla “visited lithium extraction sites and an energy storage project in Chile.”

This is interesting, as Tesla isn’t a mining company. Yet, perhaps Tesla can team up with miners in Chile to extract lithium for EV batteries. Right now, it’s too early to know how much it will cost to get this Chilean venture’s operations underway.

But then, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is known to take risks. This foray into South America may sound risky, but it could provide Tesla with access to a potentially lucrative geographic market.

TSLA Stock Gets Hit With a Low Price Target

Everybody and their uncle seems to have a different opinion about Tesla. Still, HSBC analyst Michael Tyndall’s “sell”-equivalent rating and a surprisingly low $146 price target on TSLA stock definitely caught the market’s attention.

Tesla’s fans shouldn’t just ignore Tyndall’s commentary. He seems to cite valuation as a concern, stating, “Tesla is more than a very expensive auto company; its ambition is to be an innovator, which underpins the valuation.”

Indeed, Tesla’s trailing price-to-earnings ratio of 67.5x doesn’t suggest a screaming bargain. Tyndall added that a “[c]harismatic CEO with a cultlike following feeds into the innovator narrative, but timing of delivery is far from certain.”

It’s an interesting argument in a time when EV sales aren’t as robust as once anticipated. It’s conceivable that TSLA stock is overvalued as investors put too much faith in Musk instead of heeding his warnings.

TSLA Stock: Patience Will Be Rewarded

Tyndall’s price target might shock some Tesla fans. His “cultlike” remark will certainly provoke controversy.

After all, Tesla is a groundbreaking company – just look at how it’s boldly venturing into Chile now. On the other hand, Tyndall’s argument does hold weight and Tesla’s valuation is a concern.

Therefore, it makes sense to let TSLA stock pull back 10% before jumping into the trade. Just be patient and let the sellers have their way for a while. After that, you can take a share stake in Tesla at a more favorable price.

On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

David Moadel has provided compelling content – and crossed the occasional line – on behalf of Motley Fool, Crush the Street, Market Realist, TalkMarkets, TipRanks, Benzinga, and (of course) InvestorPlace.com. He also serves as the chief analyst and market researcher for Portfolio Wealth Global and hosts the popular financial YouTube channel Looking at the Markets.

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