In an already heady week, Tesla (TSLACEO Elon Musk got more praise on Wednesday, as technology investment strategist Kathy Wood predicted that the EV company’s ambitious self-driving vehicle program was nearing completion. Wood added that, as a Tesla stock investor, she wasn’t concerned that regulators might ban self-driving vehicles due to safety issues.
During a conference hosted by Axios in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, Wood said Musk is “our renaissance man” and “the inventor of our time.” Wood added that she sees Tesla’s fully self-driving (FSD) technology as “the most impactful AI project”.
The ARK Investment leader said it appears many people in the investment community should not own a Tesla and therefore do not understand the latest update to the self-driving software.
“He’s almost there,” Wood said of Musk and autonomous driving. “We needed him to push us and get us there, just like we needed him to push on the EV side and get us there.”
Wood added that as a TSLA investor, she isn’t concerned if autonomous driving fails or is shut down by regulators due to safety concerns.
Musk has long promoted Tesla’s FSD technology and the potential value it brings to the brand. Tesla’s CEO told investors during its first-quarter earnings that “the value of an autonomous vehicle is enormous.”
“The trend is very clear toward full autonomy, and I hesitate to say this, but I think we will do it this year,” Musk said in late April, referring to self-driving vehicles.
Musk tweeted on May 8 that Tesla will roll out a one-month free trial to all North American cars when FSD is “super soft (not just safe).”
Tesla stock advanced 0.5% to 169.30 in Thursday’s market trade. On Wednesday, the TSLA Index fell 0.36%, to 168.54.
Kathy Wood buys Tesla
Wood has been buying Tesla on the cheap throughout 2023. Tesla stock is the largest stake in ARK Investment as of Thursday, accounting for 9.82% of the portfolio. Recent Tesla shares were bought through The ARK Innovation ETF (ark) And ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW).
On April 26, funds led by Wood spent an estimated $29 million on more than 190,000 shares of TSLA after Tesla sank 4.3% following a credit downgrade. Tesla stock also jumped on April 20, with purchases worth more than $40 million as Tesla fell nearly 10% after the EV company’s first-quarter earnings.
On March 8, with the Tesla tock down 3%, Wood’s ARK crew earned $12.62 million worth of TSLA. They also acquired a huge stake in Tesla stock on January 3rd. TSLA shares fell more than 12% that day, the worst bid in 2023, prompting Wood to buy about $19 million in Tesla stock. Three days later, the TSLA index reached a bear market low of 101.81.
Wood’s funds have bought 1.64 million TSLA shares so far in 2023.
Wood’s Ark Invest also predicted in late April that Tesla would reach $2,000 per share in 2027. Wood’s sees Tesla’s standalone “robotaxi business” as the “key driver” of this estimated valuation.
Wood’s Ark estimates Tesla sales in 2027 will be between 10.3 million and 20.7 million, with huge revenue from self-driving.
The Ark has long made sky-high predictions about unfulfilled Tesla and robotaxis sales. A year ago, Wood’s Ark forecast an adjusted split-price TSLA of 1,533 in 2026.
Tesla: Panasonic slows battery rollout
In other Tesla-related news, Panasonic said Wednesday that it will delay commercial production of its 4,680-cell battery. The Japan-based company previously planned to start mass production of battery cells for Tesla between April 2023 to March 2024.
Panasonic operates a pilot production line of the 4680 at its Wakayama plant in Japan. In the US, Tesla already produces 4,680 battery cells, at its California and Texas factories. Musk said the 4680 battery cell is integral to creating more advanced and cheaper electric cars.
Tesla currently uses 4,680 cells in its base Model Y vehicle.
Cathy Wood: Tesla Stock
The TSLA Index rose 5.5% to 170.06 on May 5, snapping a four-week losing streak. Tesla stock was on track for its fifth straight weekly loss, which would have been its longest losing streak since March 2021.
The electric vehicle giant rose about 67% from its January low, but pulled back and spent its sixth week below the 50-day moving average.
If stocks continue to recover, it is likely to form a double bottom base with a buy point of 207.89. But which direction the stock might go is still very uncertain.
Tesla ranks fourth in IBD Automotive Group. TSLA has a composite rating of 59 out of 99. The stock also has a relative strength rating of 20. The EPS rating is 93 out of 99.
Please follow Kit Norton on Twitter @tweet for more coverage.
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