Will Autonomous Driving Push Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Stock Forward in 2016 & 2017 with the Model 3?

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Many Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) fans have been awaiting the released of the forthcomiing Tesla Model 3 car. The vehicle, which is expected to be revealed early this year, will be available to purchase sometime in the middle of 2017. Now we learn that this new, affordable ($35,000) vehicle may just feature autonomous driving abilities.

For years we’ve ridden Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock to the top by relying on the future of electric vehicles. When it comes to electric vehicles, no one does it better than Tesla. Now, it appeasr as though Elon Musk is hanging his hat on something else: Autonomous Driving!

The question is, will this drive the stock forward in 2016? It’s very possible, but the autonomous driving experience must improve over what the current Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) vehicles provide with their latest update. If the company can release a version in the Model 3 that is almost full-proof, and can make the driving experience fun, easy and safe, then we could just see shares of the stock continue to soar throughout 2016 heading into the 2017 launch. Of course the cars won’t go on sale until 2017, but we should see what Tesla has in store for us sometime around March of this year.

The stock increased 0.81% or $1.92 on December 31, hitting $240.01. About 2.72M shares traded hands. TSLA has declined 4.30% since May 29, 2015 and is downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 2.18%.

From a total of 16 analysts covering Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock, 8 rate it a “Buy”, 3 a “Sell”, and 5 a “Hold”. This means that 50% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $465 while the lowest target price is $180. The mean of all analyst targets is $289.65 which is 20.68% above today’s ($240.01) stock price. Tesla Motors Inc was the topic of 30 analyst reports since July 21, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. JMP Securities initiated shares on December 14 with a “Market Perform” rating. Barclays Capital downgraded shares to a”Underweight” rating and a $180 target share price in their report from an October 9. Evercore maintained TSLA stock in a recent report from November 4 with a “Buy” rating. Robert W. Baird downgraded the rating on October 7. Robert W. Baird has a “Neutral” rating and a $282 price target on shares. Finally, S&P Research upgraded the stock to a “Hold” rating in a report they issued on an October 13.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1.29 in Q2 2015. It’s up 0.01, from 1.28 in 2015Q2. The ratio increased, as 84 funds sold all their Tesla Motors Inc shares they owned while 122 reduced their positions. 66 funds bought stakes while 199 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 76.22 million shares which is 1.63% less than the previous share count of 77.48 million in 2015Q2.

J&P(China)Capital Management Co.Ltd holds 50.38% of its total portfolio in Tesla Motors Inc, equating to 975,058 shares. Andor Capital Management L.L.C. owns 1.00 million shares representing 39.05% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Zevenbergen Capital Investments Llc has 6.58% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 618,255 shares. The New York-based Long Oar Global Investors Llc has a total of 5.74% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Hhr Asset Management Llc, a New Jersey-based fund reported 488,021 shares owned.

Since April 16, 2015, the stock had 0 buys, and 6 insider sales for a total of $15.35 million in net activity. Straubel Jeffrey B sold 10,000 shares worth $2.18 million. Ehrenpreis Ira Matthew sold 16,698 shares worth $4.26 million. Ahuja Deepak sold 5,000 shares worth $1.29 million. Guillen Jerome M sold 1,500 shares worth $373,291. The insider Reichow Gregory sold 10,000 shares worth $2.40 million.

Tesla Motors, Inc. is a United States company, which designs, develops, makes and sells electric vehicles, electric vehicle powertrain components and stationary energy storage systems. The company has a market cap of $31.43 billion. The Firm sells and produces a vehicle under the name Model S, which is a fully electric, four-door, five-adult passenger sedan. It currently has negative earnings. In addition to developing its own vehicles, it develops, sells, and services full electric powertrain systems and components to other automobile manufacturers.

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