Tesla stock heading to $400 per share: Analyst

Tesla showroom
Tesla bull has $400 target price   

Tesla stock has a clear path toward $400 per share, James Albertine of Stifel Nicolaus said after the electric-car maker beat earnings expectations.

The company posted earnings of 2 cents per share versus Wall Street estimates of a 1 cent loss per share. Tesla also lowered fourth-quarter guidance to a range of 30 to 35 cents compared with expectations of around 75 cents.

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Albertine, who is vice president of equity research, said Wednesday on CNBC's "Fast Money" he was eyeing one positive metric.

The Tesla Model S electric car.
Tesla Motors
The Tesla Model S electric car.

"I think demand is there, and, quite frankly, 28 percent, or slightly higher than 28 percent, gross margin is what I'd be focused on—and the unchanged outlook for 2015," he said.

Albertine has a "buy" rating on the stock and a $400 price target.

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At midday Thursday, the stock was trading at more than $243 a share.

"Sounds to me like the air pocket, if you will, is production, and it's a good thing because they're bringing some features forward that'll allow them to upsell their vehicle from what was already $110,000 a unit to conceivably higher now," he said.

Don't chase Tesla here: Trader
Don't chase Tesla here: Trader   

"So, you have positive pricing pressure. You've got margins that are going the right direction," he said, adding that the company's invested capital "may be bringing the short-term EPS outlook down" in coming months.

RiskReversal's Dan Nathan wasn't a buyer.

"I think you're going to see $200 over the next couple of weeks," he said. "I think the chart has been waning since the highs earlier in the year, so I just wouldn't chase it right here."

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Stuart Frankel's Steve Grasso said Tesla stock was still a "buy."

"You can chase the stock here," he said. "It went from—gross margins—17 percent, 25 percent, now above 28 percent. GM, Ford? They're at 18 percent."

Disclosure: Stifel makes a market in the securities of Tesla Motors.