Here’s what every major Wall Street analyst had to say about Tesla’s results, Musk’s peculiar call

Shares of Tesla fell on Thursday after CEO Elon Musk delivered a bizarre earnings conference call.

Musk dismissed a question from Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Bernstein, about gross margins, calling it “boring.”

The stock’s decline and Musk’s comments took place after the company reported a narrower-than-expected loss for the previous quarter.

Here’s a wrap of all the major analyst opinions going out to Wall Street pros regarding Tesla on Thursday.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (Underperform):

“Key takeaways were as follows: 1) Revenue of $3.41bn was a bit ahead of our $3.29bn estimate, as lighter deliveries (relative to BofAML estimates) were offset by a greater proportion of vehicles sold with immediate revenue recognition; 2) Reported total company gross margin of 13.4% was lower than our 17.4% estimate, as Automotive was roughly in line and other segments relatively weak, although Auto gross margin of 19.7% was down roughly 800bps+ YoY due primarily to the slow Model 3 ramp; and 3) Operating expenses (SG&A, R&D) of $1.05bn were just above our $1.02bn forecast, up both YoY and sequentially.”

Bernstein (Hold):

“Tesla’s Q1 earnings call was a unique experience, to say the least. For those who missed it – halfway through the call, CEO Elon Musk abruptly declared that our questions were ‘boring’ and ‘not cool,’ and pivoted to a 20-minute back-and-forth with a retail investor from YouTube. Beneath the bizarre theatrics, however, we see Tesla’s Q1 as in-line with expectations on most metrics, including revenues, gross margins, and free cash flow.”

Morgan Stanley (Hold):

“To be clear. Tonight’s conference call didn’t go very well. Feedback we have received from investors during and following the call support this view. Irrespective of the Tesla CEO’s annoyance with the genre of questions he was receiving from the analyst community, we note that an important part of Tesla’s success has been its relationship with the capital markets in funding its ambitious plans.”

J.P. Morgan (Sell):

“Tesla reported mixed 1Q results after the close yesterday, marked by better than expected revenue, margin, & EPS but accompanied by a bigger than expected cash outflow and record net loss. Given that the market has seemed somewhat less focused on cash burn than we have been, initially we believed that the 1Q performance — combined with forceful management guidance for a strong 2H inflection in revenue, margin, and cash flow — would be enough to elicit a modestly positive reaction in the shares Thursday. Instead, we expect TSLA to fall today after CEO Elon Musk dismissed multiple analyst questions as ‘dry’ and ‘boring’ (including questions probing what we feel are key topics, such as profitability of the Model 3 and the company’s capital requirements).”

Goldman Sachs (Sell):

“Altogether, we believe the update had more negative undertones than positive implications and believe shares should see pressure as a result. Ultimately, the path for shares over the next two months likely tracks available VIN registration data – which has helped point to weekly production cadence of the Model 3.”

Barclays (Sell):

“We expected the shareholder letter to be more about the future than about the quarter in the books that was plagued by a slow ramp of the M3. And in that we were right – the letter is replete with optimistic predictions of achieving positive profits in 2H, based on the assumption that it can get to a 5000/wk run rate (which we note is likely a steady 5k/week, not a burst rate). But at the same time, while still a large loss and cash burn, the quarter was less bad than we thought – with a modest amount of opex discipline, lower than expected capex (and a lower capex guide for the year) – which contributed to somewhat better cash burn (a mere $1.1bn instead of our more dire $1.9bn) and EPS.”

Guggenheim (Buy):

“As Tesla keeps grinding through its ramp of the Model 3, it continues to target production hitting 5K units/week entering Q3E, which we continue to forecast dramatically flipping the company’s economics from sizeable cash-burn in 1H18E to profitability in 2H18E, with Model 3 volumes then driving meaningful positive leverage in 2019-20E off the big fixed-cost structure it has been building.”

Piper Jaffray (Buy):

“Management strongly rejected the need for new equity, while trimming its capex forecast and guiding for profitability in 2H. Model 3 choppiness notwithstanding, these results initially looked like a modest positive vs. bearish expectations. But then Elon Musk began dismissing analysts’ questions and decided instead to field TWELVE questions from a YouTuber because it was ‘way more interesting.’ The unorthodox behavior sparked an after-hours sell-off. We still recommend TSLA, but in the next few months especially, we would expect significant volatility.”

Baird (Buy):

“Ignore the noise and focus on metrics. TSLA reported solid results and is successfully ramping Model 3 vehicle and battery production, although Elon refused to answer several questions on the conference call which he deemed mundane, which may create pressure on the stock. That said, we believe investors should continue to focus on TSLA’s progress and recommend buying shares.”

Nomura (Buy):

“We are disappointed by the way last night’s earnings call went. No shareholder wants to see a CEO lose his patience over important, albeit mundane questions about margins, capex and customer deposits. It will most likely divert attention today away from several positive fundamentals from the Q1 report and outlook.”

RBC Capital Markets (Hold):

“An odd conference call that lacked answers to questions on investors’ minds and overshadowed earnings. Investor feedback is that the performance shook confidence, which we’d argue is an important piece of the Tesla story. The results themselves probably did little to incrementally persuade bulls/bears either way. There is still healthy, and warranted, skepticism about Tesla’s near-term production capabilities.”

Evercore ISI (Hold):

“‘Wow’ is the only way to describe the Tesla Q1 call which was unlike anything we have heard before. The call yielded little of incremental value to investors in our view. However, it did witness CEO Musk somewhat curtly dismiss questions from two well respected peers in favour of a plethora of questions from a retail investor. Were the retail investor’s questions basic or boring? No. However, they did not address the more granular aspects of Tesla’s Q1 performance and Q2 expectations which the analyst community was attempting to address. Questions which we believe need to be answered in order for the broader investment community to become more constructive on a name that continues to burn cash and whose funding needs remain subject to debate.”

Oppenheimer (Hold):

“We expect many investors to focus on questions around strategic leadership as CEO Elon Musk hung up on analysts asking questions related to battery production runrate and what he deemed boring questions about financial and operational metrics. The company also effectively pushed out its year-end target for 10k/week runrate suggesting it would wait until 3Q18 before deciding how best to configure manufacturing to reach that runrate. Musk also indicated TSLA is in planning stages for a new factory to produce Model Y, it was planning to announce a Chinese factory, and Semi truck availability would be 2020 at the earliest.”

KeyBanc (Hold):

“While we remain Sector Weight on longer-term valuation sensitivity (and in spite of an unfavorable conference call), shares still look a bit oversold given a low Model 3 profitability bar to step over, a solid and likely improving demand narrative, almost certain headline upside risks as the Company works toward 5K/week, and likely incremental production announcements in the upcoming one to two quarters.”

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