If you’ve been following the financial headlines this week you no doubt caught wind of a major upward spike in shares of Tesla Motors.
Tesla has been one of the hottest stocks on the market over the last year. It is a bubble-lover’s bubble stock. While the S&P 500 has gained over 30% over the last twelve months, Tesla is up over 600%.
The catalyst for the spike in Tesla stock earlier this week was an upgrade from Adam Jonas, the Morgan Stanley analyst covering the company. Mr. Jonas decided that Tesla wasn’t worth the $153 per share he had estimated only a few weeks prior, but $320 per share—a more than 100% revaluation.
At Young Research, we don’t follow Tesla shares closely, but a doubling in a price target grabs your attention, so I investigated further.
Apparently, Mr. Jonas decided to double the price target of Tesla because he saw profound promise in the company’s yet to be announced plans for a battery factory. After reading this pie-in-the sky analysis, it seemed clear to me that Mr. Jonas had simply fallen prey to a bubble-induced euphoria that caused a lapse in his judgment. No harm, no foul, right.
I should have known better.
Two days later The Wall Street Journal reported that Tesla was issuing $1.6 billion in convertible bonds to help finance the battery factory. Can you take a wild guess at who is underwriting the bond? Yup, none other than Morgan Stanley.
If you thought these types of shenanigans were a thing of the past on Wall Street, you were sadly mistaken. Wall Street is and always will be in the business of distributing securities. Brokerage clients are a convenient dumping ground for newly issued securities. If you want conflict-free, unbiased investment advice, find a boutique registered investment advisory firm charging less than 1%.
Jeremy Jones, CFA
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