Ignore the Tesla Robotaxi Hype

Ignore the Tesla Robotaxi Hype

Expect a bumpy ride for Tesla stock this summer

  • With Tesla holding steady, you may be tempted to buy ahead of the company’s vehicle unveiling event this August.
  • Weak demand persists, and the event’s excitement may be priced in.
  • Tesla stock may experience more volatility this summer, so it’s not the ideal time to buy.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) may hold steady, but I can understand why you may be champing at the bit to buy it. An upcoming vehicle unveiling event could, in theory, spark a big move higher for Tesla stock.

However, between now and this event, scheduled for August, the EV maker’s shares could encounter additional rounds of turbulence. Largely, because major problems with the company, such as weak demand, have not gone away.

Although shares rallied strongly despite a revenue and earnings miss last quarter, we may not necessarily see a repeat of this response when Tesla next reports quarterly numbers two months from now.

It’s also far from a lock whether this vehicle event will help to elicit additional bullishness for shares, or if it will elicit a “sell the news” response instead.

Tesla Stock: Why the August Vehicle Event May Fail to be a Silver Bullet

The aforementioned presentation scheduled for Aug. 8 may be referred to as the “Robotaxi event” by the financial press. However, it could end up being an event at which Tesla will unveil several new vehicle models.

At least, that’s the view of Deepwater Asset Management’s Gene Munster. Recently, the analyst argued that Tesla could unveil or provide updates on as many as two other vehicles alongside the Robotaxi.

Still, if this event promises a whole lot more than the latest on Tesla’s Robotaxi catalyst, it may not end up being a silver bullet for Tesla stock.

For instance, after bidding up TSLA since its quarterly earnings release in April, short-term traders in the EV maker’s shares could decide to use the event as their time to take profit.

Or, instead of bolstering confidence that Tesla is nearing an exit from its recent growth slump, updates and takeaways from the event instead lead to further questions regarding the company’s growth resurgence timeline.

If that’s not bad enough, a reversal for TSLA could arrive well before Aug. 8. It may arrive when Tesla releases results for its fiscal second quarter. These are expected to hit the street sometime in mid-to-late July.

Demand Troubles Continue, Especially in China

Tesla stock has yet to reverse course, but recent developments have taken the momentum out of its post-earnings rally. Recently, the Biden Administration’s China EV tariff hikes could prove to be a headwind rather than a tailwind.

The market clearly holds a similar view, given how this development has tempered TSLA’s rebound.

However, other factors are also making investors hesitant to bid up Tesla shares. Although Tesla’s European vehicle sales are no longer declining, sales growth remains anemic, coming in at just 3% last month.

More importantly, demand troubles in China have not gone away. In fact, this major problem could be getting worse.

Tesla just recently slashed Chinese Model Y production by 20%. This strongly suggests that the company continues to lose ground to local competitors in what is the world’s largest electric vehicle market.

Taking these less-stellar developments into account, it appears likely that Tesla will, much like with its Q1 2024 results, fall short once again.

Except, this time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk may not be able to pull the rabbit of the hat by making a new game-changing announcement that overshadows weak numbers and helps drive a new round of bullishness.

The Take-away: Keep Waiting for Lower Prices

At current prices, TSLA trades for 70.7 times forward earnings. This valuation wouldn’t be an issue if the company were currently reporting high levels of revenue and earnings growth.

However, the enthusiastic response to recent positive company-specific developments notwithstanding, Tesla is far from being out of the woods when it comes to its growth challenges.

This makes it risky to buy right now, as issues like weak demand and falling margins could again sour sentiment for shares. More likely, TSLA will retest its lows, or head even lower, before or only at the start of a possible growth resurgence.

With this, there’s no harm in continuing to wait for a better entry point for Tesla stock. Don’t let Robotaxi hype, FOMO, or anything else cloud your judgment.

Tesla stock earns a D rating in Portfolio Grader.

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