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Bearish on Tesla long term, but possible short-term upside, analyst says

Given the capital involved in launching the Model 3 and electric vehicle competition on the horizon, Tesla is a sell, Barclays Capital senior autos analyst Brian Johnson told CNBC on Monday.

That said, there is a window for potential profits, he said in an interview with "Power Lunch."

"Short term, we could see some upside with this … slew of product announcements coming over the next several weeks," he said.

Johnson has an "underweight" rating on Tesla based on where he sees the long-term value. He has a $165 price target on the stock.

Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors, speaks during an event at the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors, speaks during an event at the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

On Monday, CEO Elon Musk said he has pushed back the unveiling of the "unexpected product" he has been teasing, noting it needs a few more days of refinement. Telsa shares were down in afternoon trading.

Recode reported it was possible Musk planned to unveil a new version of the company's at-home energy storage devices. This could also be the launch of an updated version of its autopilot system, Recode said.

Johnson believes investors are more interested in Tesla's upcoming earnings announcement. It is set to report after the bell Oct. 26.

"We think we are at a point where the market really isn't as hypnotized by these endless product announcements and is going to look more to other things," he said. "I think there is enough moving parts in the earnings that there could be parts of it that could surprise to the upside."

Disclosures: Brian Johnson beneficially owns a short position of more than 0.5 percent of a class of equity securities of Tesla, as calculated in accordance with EU regulations, and is a market-maker in debt and equity securities issued by Tesla. Barclays Bank PLC and/or an affiliate is a liquidity provider and/or trades regularly in the securities of Tesla and/or in any related derivatives.

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