In an already heady week, Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk was the subject of more praise Wednesday, as star tech investment strategist Cathie Wood predicted the EV company’s ambitious autonomous vehicle software was close to being perfected. Wood added that, as an investor in Tesla stock, she was not concerned by the possibility regulators may prohibit self-driving vehicles due to safety issues.
During a conference hosted by Axios in San Francisco Wednesday afternoon, Wood said Musk is “our Renaissance man” and the “inventor of our age.” Wood added she sees Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology as the “most impactful AI project out there.”
The ARK Investment leader said it seems like many people in the investment community must not own a Tesla and therefore do not understand the latest self-driving software upgrade.
“He’s almost there,” Wood said of Musk and autonomous driving. “We needed him to push 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 is not concerned if autonomous driving fails or regulators shut it down over safety concerns.
Musk has long touted Tesla’s FSD technology and the potential value it brings to the brand. The Tesla CEO told investors during the Q1 earnings call the “value of a car that is autonomous is enormous.”
“The trend is very clearly toward full autonomy, and I hesitate to say this, but I think we’ll 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 free month trial for all North America vehicles when FSD is “super smooth (not just safe).”
Tesla stock advanced 2.10% to 172.08 late Thursday during market trade on news Musk has found a new Twitter CEO. On Wednesday, TSLA edged down 0.36% to 168.54.
Cathie Wood Buys Up Tesla
Wood has been buying up Tesla on the cheap throughout 2023. Tesla stock is the top holding in ARK Investment as of Thursday, representing 9.82% of the portfolio. Recent Tesla stock purchases were done through ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) and ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW).
On April 26, Wood-led funds spent an estimated $29 million on more than 190,000 TSLA shares after Tesla sank 4.3% following a downgrade. She also jumped on Tesla stock on April 20, with purchases worth more than $40 million as Tesla dropped nearly 10% following the EV company’s Q1 earnings.
On March 8, with Tesla tock slipping 3%, Wood’s ARK crew scooped up $12.62 million worth of TSLA. They also grabbed a hefty share of Tesla stock on Jan. 3. TSLA shares plummeted more than 12% that day, the worst showing in 2023, leading Wood to purchase around $19 million of Tesla stock. Three days later, TSLA hit bear-market lows of 101.81.
Wood’s funds have purchased 1.64 million TSLA shares so far in 2023.
Wood’s Ark Invest also predicted in late April that Tesla will reach a $2,000 per share price in 2027. Wood’s firm sees Tesla’s autonomous “robotaxi business” as a “key driver” for this estimated valuation.
Wood’s Ark believes Tesla sales in 2027 will be between 10.3 million and 20.7 million, with massive revenue from autonomous driving.
Ark has long made sky-high predictions about Tesla sales and robotaxis that haven’t come to pass. A year ago, Wood’s Ark predicted a split-adjusted TSLA price of 1,533 in 2026.
Futures: Market Struggles Outside Google; Tesla Pops On Elon Musk News
Tesla: Panasonic Slows Battery Rollout
In other Tesla-related news, Panasonic said on Wednesday it will delay commercial production of its 4680 battery cells. The Japan-based company previously planned to start volume battery cell production for Tesla between April 2023 to March 2024.
Panasonic is running a pilot 4680 production line at its Wakayama factory in Japan. In the U.S. Tesla is already producing the 4680 battery cells, at its factories in California and Texas. Musk has said the 4680 battery cell is integral to creating more advanced and cheaper EVs.
Tesla currently uses 4680 cells in its base Model Y vehicle.
Cathie Wood: Tesla Stock
TSLA surged 5.5% to 170.06 on May 5, snapping a four-week losing streak. Tesla stock had been on pace for a fifth straight weekly loss, which would have been the longest losing streak since March, 2021.
The EV giant is up around 67% from a January low, but pulled back and spending its sixth week below its 50-day moving average.
If shares continue to rebound, it could potentially form a double-bottom base with a 207.89 buy point. But which direction the stock might go remains very uncertain.
Tesla ranks fourth in IBD’s Auto Manufacturers industry group. TSLA has a 59 Composite Rating out of 99. The stock has also has a 20 Relative Strength Rating. The EPS Rating is 93 out of 99.
Please follow Kit Norton on Twitter @KitNorton for more coverage.
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