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Tesla could surge to $400 and then get cut in half in 2018, Morgan Stanley predicts

  • Tesla shareholders are in for a roller-coaster ride next year, according to the most widely followed analyst covering the stock.
  • Morgan Stanley's Adam Jonas reiterates his equal weight rating for Tesla shares, predicting the stock will be "extremely volatile" next year.
  • The title of his note to clients: "Tesla 2018: $400 then $200?"
Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc.

Tesla shareholders are in for a roller-coaster ride next year, according to the most widely followed analyst covering the stock.

Morgan Stanley reiterated its equal weight rating for electric car maker's shares, predicting the stock will rise then fall in the coming year.

"We expect Tesla shares to be extremely volatile in 2018, divided into two stages: (1) The alleviation of production bottlenecks with strong cash inflow, and (2) mounting concerns over the sustainability of the competitive moat," analyst Adam Jonas wrote in a note to clients Tuesday entitled "Tesla 2018: $400 then $200?"

The analyst reiterated his $379 price target for Tesla shares, representing 23 percent upside to Monday's close.

"We believe such upside [to the firm's price target] is less interesting on a risk-adjusted basis. From a shorter-term trading perspective, we anticipate Tesla's stock price may reach highs in the range of $400 or more over the next few months before facing some more serious headwinds later in the year," he wrote.

Jonas expects Tesla will fix its battery production issues in the coming weeks as the company put more resources on the problem. However, he predicts more electric car and autonomous transportation announcements from direct competitors next year will hurt investor sentiment.

The electric car maker's shares are outperforming the market this year, up 44.5 percent through Monday compared with the S&P 500's 15.3 percent return.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Its shares are up 0.6 percent in the Tuesday premarket session after the call.

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