Weird but true: Tesla today resembles Amazon yesterday

Tesla's electric rise over the past four months has led to much head-scratching and proclamations of a bubble. But for one of Wall Street's most respected technical analysts, the electric car maker's 320 percent run-up this year could be indicative of something else entirely.

Oppenheimer Chief Market Technician Carter Worth says Tesla has become strongly reminiscent of Amazon in the late 1990s. That means the rally could just be getting started.

First of all, the charts look remarkable similar. In the late 1990s, Amazon stock "was basing, and then it exploded in four months, essentially moving from $20 to $100 — up four and a half times." In Tesla, Worth sees "the same sort of circumstance, where the stock bases, and then also in a four-month period, this stock has moved from $30 to about $130 — exactly four months and exactly four-and-a-half-fold."

"So in both Amazon and Tesla, you've seen same formation," Worth said on Friday's "Options Action." "That's kind of a remarkable thing."


But there's even more to this parallel.

Worth points out that in 1999, after Amazon's four-month bonanza, the company's market cap was $30 billion — which was one-fifth the market cap of Wal-Mart, the nation's biggest retailer. Today, Tesla has a market cap of $16 billion, which is nearly one-fifth of the $68 billion market cap that leading automaker Ford enjoys.

To Worth, that cements this similarities between Amazon in 1999 and Tesla today. "No one believed in that one (Amazon) and we know what's happened, and really, in a lot of ways, no one believes in this one (Tesla)."

That would also explain the speedy upward moves on the charts. "When something's brand new, no one's quite sure what it is, what it's worth, and where it's really going — because it's breaking molds. And that's what each of these stocks, in a way, is doing."

Michael Khouw of DASH Financial doesn't quite see it that way. "As much of a paradigm shift as Amazon represented for the brick-and-mortar stores, in this case you're dealing with four wheels, a steering wheel — you're dealing with a car. So a lot of people sell these things, and the only difference is the power plant," meaning the fact that Tesla's cars are powered by electricity rather than gasoline.

But Worth says the shocking similarities speak for themselves. "One can say 'Voodoo,' one can say 'Just coincidence,' but analogues are important," Worth maintained. And in an additional bonus for Tesla, "this one's got 40 percent of the float that's short."

So what does this all mean for Tesla shares?

Well, Amazon shares have risen three-fold from January 1999 to today. "Were Tesla to increase 300 percent from current levels," Worth notes, "we're looking at a $400 stock."

—By CNBC's Alex Rosenberg. Follow him on Twitter: @CNBCAlex.

Follow the show on Twitter: @CNBCOptions.


Host Bio

  • Melissa Lee

    Melissa Lee is the host of CNBC's “Fast Money” and “Options Action.”

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