Tesla Surges on Morgan Stanley Output Report: Mover

Tesla Motors Inc., the maker of electric cars led by billionaire Elon Musk, surged to a record closing price after Morgan Stanley raised its outlook for deliveries of the company’s battery-powered Model S.

Tesla rose 5.3 percent to $45.59 at the close in New York, topping the previous record of $44.34 on April 2.

The electric-car maker, based in Palo Alto, California, should deliver 18,000 Model S sedans this year, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a report today. While that’s up from Morgan Stanley’s previous forecast of 16,000 cars, it’s below Musk’s goal of 20,000 deliveries this year, said Jonas, who rates the shares overweight, in a phone interview.

The report “may have been taken as a positive,” said Ben Schuman, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities who rates Tesla shares sector perform. “This is one of those cases where perhaps people just read the headline and don’t really go into all the details of the report.”

Shares of the company named for inventor Nikola Tesla have traded at record highs this month after Musk said on March 31 the carmaker attained its first profit in the quarter that ended that day. Tesla hasn’t yet said when it will announce first-quarter results.

Along with discussing earnings details, Tesla should offer an update on Model S reservations, Jonas said in the interview. While “they don’t want to talk about the order book,” this will be a critical issue during the earnings conference call with analysts, he said.

Schuman, based in Portland, Oregon, said the company’s guidance of 20,000 Model S deliveries “is still reasonable.” By comparison, Morgan Stanley’s Jonas said today he doesn’t expect Tesla to reach that volume level until 2014.

Tesla shares have gained 35 percent this year compared with an 11 percent rise in the Russell 1000 Index.

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