If I’d invested £2,500 in Tesla stock at the start of the year, here’s how much I’d have now

I’ve been keeping a close eye on Tesla (LSE: TSLA) stock lately. The electric vehicles (EV) market it operates in has the weight of major governments pushing it forward, and the share price has surged for years and years. 

To my mind though, there are still question marks here. While EV adoption is happening, it’s still mostly driven by incentivised fleets and businesses. This type of purchase makes up 75% of EV sales in the UK – thanks to some generous tax breaks – and only 25% are private buyers. 

So it’s not clear whether the average driver on the road wants an EV given the cost and lingering issues like range and reliability that haven’t been ironed out yet. 

This isn’t a thought exercise for me, either. I own Tesla shares and I’m curious to see how my investment performed this year. I’m equally curious to explore whether it’s still a good buy, or whether it might be time to sell.

£2,500 in Tesla

My example stake will be £2,500 invested at the start of the year. Interestingly, early January was a two-year low for the stock. The share price briefly dipped to just $108 from its $407 all-time high in 2021. So it was a good time to buy. 

This £2,500 stake, if bought on the first trading day of January, would have turned into £5,616 up to today. That’s a 124% increase in only 10 months or so. A pretty terrific return by any standards. 

I’d be pleased to see my stake double in any year, but in 2023 it seems almost unbelievable. UK stocks have disappointed once more and even after hitting record highs in February, the FTSE 100 is down year to date.

Tesla’s return, though, is unusually good even for US stocks. While the S&P 500 has enjoyed a solid year, that’s driven almost entirely by the so-called ‘Magnificent 7’ – the big tech stocks like Tesla, Apple, Meta and the like. The other 493 stocks on the US index are down 2% for the year. 

In short, it’s been a banner year for the EV maker. 

67 times earnings

So what comes next? Well, after this strong performance, Tesla does look overpriced. The stock currently trades at a pricey-sounding 78 times earnings, and HSBC agreed last week when it called Tesla “a very expensive auto company”.

A price that high needs plenty of growth to justify it. To be fair, Tesla’s sales figures have been climbing for years. If the trend continues, such a high price-to-earnings ratio might seem like a good deal a few years down the line. 

Two issues concern me, though. Firstly, high interest rates make borrowing more expensive. This could impact sales of Tesla’s EVs, which some might call an expensive toy compared to a cheaper second-hand combustion vehicle. Second, the signs are there – like Shell’s recent pullback from renewables – that the Net Zero targets many governments have are going to be delayed or sidelined. 

Both these issues are going to make me think carefully about the future of my shares. While 2023 was a great year for Tesla, I’m not as optimistic looking ahead.

The post If I’d invested £2,500 in Tesla stock at the start of the year, here’s how much I’d have now appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

Like buying £1 for 51p

This seems ridiculous, but we almost never see shares looking this cheap. Yet this recent ‘Best Buy Now’ has a price/book ratio of 0.51. In plain English, this means that investors effectively get in on a business that holds £1 of assets for every 51p they invest!

Of course, this is the stock market where money is always at risk — these valuations can change and there are no guarantees. But some risks are a LOT more interesting than others, and at The Motley Fool we believe this company is amongst them.

What’s more, it currently boasts a stellar dividend yield of around 8.5%, and right now it’s possible for investors to jump aboard at near-historic lows. Want to get the name for yourself?

See the full investment case

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HSBC Holdings is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. John Fieldsend has positions in Apple and Tesla. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Apple, HSBC Holdings, Meta Platforms, and Tesla. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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