Wharton legend Jeremy Siegel speaks out about Tesla

Wharton legend Jeremy Siegel speaks out about Tesla

Increasing doubts over Tesla’s place in the so-called ‘Magnificent 7’ of Wall Street’s hottest stock picks are good for the economy, according to Wharton legend Jeremy Siegel.

Tesla has had something of a bumpy past year or so. In January the EV maker was surpassed by Chinese rival BYD to steal the crown of being the world’s biggest car maker.

But not only is competition snapping at Elon Musk’s heels, he’s also been accused by shareholders of not coming up with a plan to get back out in front.

After a series of lackluster earnings calls—and headlines about Musk’s prescribed ketamine use—it’s perhaps no wonder analysts may be looking to draw a line between drama-ridden Tesla and surging stocks like chipmaker Nvidia.

For Professor Siegel, emeritus professor of finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and senior economist to exchange-traded funds specialists WisdomTree, that’s a good thing.

In his weekly commentary for the investment specialists, Professor Siegel wrote: “There’s more talk of a Magnificent 6 rather than 7—highlighting Tesla’s underperformance over last nine months or so.”

Is Telsa still part of the Magnificent 7?

The Magnificent 7 (MAG7) are the Herculean stocks holding up the S&P500: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Nvidia and Tesla.

In November, analysts from the likes of JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Oppenheimer told Fortune they were upbeat about the performance of the group as a whole.

Professor Siegel believes a division between Tesla and its MAG7 peers is a good thing, explaining: “This is a sign of market health; the Magnificent 7 are not being treated all as one group and we see separation between Tesla and the others based on different earnings projections.”

As recently as this weekend, analysts from Goldman Sachs did just that: lowering Tesla estimates based on production and market headwinds.

A note seen by Fortune penned by equity researchers Mark Delaney, Will Bryant, Morgan Leung and Aman Gupta reads: “While we continue to believe that Tesla is well positioned for longer-term growth given its strong position in the EV and clean energy markets (which we attribute to factors including its ability to offer full solutions such as charging, storage, software/FSD and services, and with a leading cost structure), we believe that softer near-term EV market conditions are weighing on earnings.”

As a result, the quartet revised its 12-month price target to $190 (from $220 prior) with an upside stock scenario in 12 to 24 months of around $300. A downside, they added, could be between $65 and $85.

In the note, Goldman also downgraded its Tesla delivery estimates: for 2025/2026 predicting figures between 2.35 million and 2.75 million down from between 2.53 million to 3 million.

Goldman’s reshuffle follows an outright demotion from Wells Fargo analyst Colin Langan.

He wrote in a note to clients last Wednesday he had effectively downgraded the stock to the equivalent of a sell rating. Langan expects Tesla’s sales volumes to be flat this year and to fall in 2025.

Musk’s company is a “growth company with no growth,” Langan added, highlighting that sales volumes rose only 3% in the second half of 2023 from the first half, while prices fell 5%.

Sky-high stock valuations

If merely on a surface level, Wall Street is beginning to distinguish between Tesla and the rest of the MAG7, it may go some way to reassure market bears about valuations more widely.

Last month, for example, Wall Street legend John Hussman said he was going to “stick to his knitting” and steer clear of rampant “fear of missing out” (FOMO) trading.

The president of the Hussman Investment Trust believes that the market has reached its peak and is now settling in for a decade of “dismal” returns.

He pointed out: “We can’t know the future, but it’s straightforward to examine history and do math. Presently, market conditions have a stronger positive correlation with historical market peaks, and a stronger negative correlation with historical market lows, than 99.9% of instances across history.”

And while the MAG7 are no strangers to immense gains and drops in one day—Tesla chief among them—the EV-maker is likely not as high on FOMO traders’ lists as it once was.

While investors have been somewhat cheered by releases such as the hotly-anticipated Cybertruck and a mass market EV beginning production next year, it hasn’t done enough to stem the ebb on the company’s share price.

In the year to date, Tesla’s stock price has fallen by nearly 31%, and in the past year it has slumped 6%.

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