Tesla shares rise after analyst raises Model 3 delivery estimate by 50%

  • KeyBanc Capital Markets raises its second-quarter Model 3 delivery estimate to 30,000 from 20,000, citing its conversations with Tesla dealers.
  • The firm reiterates its sector weight rating for the company's shares due to its valuation.

Tesla is making significant progress in ramping up production of its Model 3 electric car, according to one Wall Street firm.

KeyBanc Capital Markets significantly raised its second-quarter Model 3 delivery estimate to 30,000 from 20,000, citing its conversations with Tesla dealers.

"Our checks with sales centers indicate Model 3 deliveries are tracking ~50% higher than our prior estimates for the quarter, prompting us to raise our estimates," analyst Brad Erickson said in a note to clients Monday. "While the longer-term debate on TSLA remains more balanced … we maintain that evidence supporting the bear case is not likely to emerge in the near term, in our view."

Tesla's stock closed up 3.2 percent Tuesday. Its shares rose 6.7 percent this year through Monday versus the S&P 500's 4.1 percent gain.

CEO Elon Musk said last week it's "quite likely" the company will hit a weekly Model 3 production rate of 5,000 cars by the end of the month. Tesla has struggled with production issues with the vehicle.

Erickson noted his conversations with sales representatives at 20 Tesla stores revealed Model 3 deliveries for the second quarter are pointing higher than his previous expectations. As a result, he also increased his full-year Model 3 delivery estimate to 118,182 from 98,182.

"We believe weekly run-rate volumes have moved from the high teens per store per week to the low 30s since our last checks in mid-April," he said.

The analyst reiterated his sector weight rating and $300 "fair value" price target for Tesla shares, representing 10 percent downside to Monday's close.

"Long-term thesis on TSLA unchanged," he said. "Our rating is built on the core belief that there is significant premium built into the stock on perceptions of the Company's innovative superiority around the five critical aspects of the story: manufacturing, batteries, software, AI, and competition."