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Tesla slowing down?

Cowen initiates TSLA as Underperform, $160 price target

There are a lot of Tesla and Elon Musk-believers out there.

But Cowen isn't one of them.

Today the firm initiated coverage on the stock with an underperform rating. The firm's bearish stance stems from concerns over execution and the belief that Tesla will need to raise additional capital next year.

Tesla shares are already down 18% this year -- and Cowen's $160 price target means the firm sees another 20% downside ahead.


It isn't all road blocks, however.

Analyst Jeffrey Osborne believes Tesla has a long-term vision, but that the near-term issues make the risk/reward unfavorable for now.

"The company [Tesla], while fundamentally well positioned for the long term, has a material amount of execution risk over the next 12 to 18 months," Osborne wrote in his research note Thursday morning.

He joined the "Halftime Report" to discuss his call.

Like Cowen, the desk isn't bullish on Tesla.

Steve Weiss's primary concern is competition.

"There's much more competition coming out here...I just wouldn't own this stock," he said on the "Halftime Report."

One of the problems Tesla-bears have with the stock is that it is notoriously difficult to value from a fundamental perspective.


Many questions surround the company -- it is still relatively young, the market for electric cars isn't very established, and the proposed merger with Solar City is still in early talks.

Given this Pete Najarian -- who owns Tesla puts -- thinks the only way to trade the stock is from a technical perspective.

That said, while Joe Terranova isn't betting on the stock, he's also not betting against it.

"Ultimately at some point someone comes in and buys Tesla, and I think that's why the downside is protected," he argued.

Trader disclosure: On September 8, 2016 the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC's "Halftime Report" were owned by the "Halftime Report" traders:

Steve Weiss: Long AAL, AKAM, BAC, CAVM, HZNP, MU, OA, SRPT Puts: SRPT

Joe Terranova: Long ADBE, ALB, BBT, BLK, CTAS, DLTR, DPS, FB, FIS, FXY,ICE, NOC, ORCL, PSX, SHW, SJM, SKY, SLB, SLV, TJX, TMO, TXN, VMC, VRTS, VXX, VZ

Jon Najarian: Long Stock: BLUE, CSX, GSAT, INO, XON Long Calls: AAPL, BMY,CDE, CLVS, CXO, FIT, FXE, FXI, GDX, GLD, KATE, MSFT, NFLX, PAAS, SCHW, SLW, SQ, TLRD, TWTR, WFC, WLL

Pete Najarian: Long Stock: AAPL, BAC, BMY, DIS, DISCA, GE, KMI, KMI.A, KO,LUX, PEP, PFE, TGT, VIAB Long Calls: AAL, AMD, ABT, AKS, BAC, CIT, CNX, COP,CRM, CSCO, CYH, DISH, DVN, EGO, ETP, FB, FSLR, FXI, GLD, HALO, KGC, KO, LLY, M,MS, MT, MU, NEM, SBUX, SLV, TGT, TMUS, TWTR, TTS, UA, VRX, XLE Puts: CLF, MBLY, MRO, TSLA, EEM