What to Look For in Tesla Earnings Report

When Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) reports third-quarter earnings after markets close Tuesday, the company is expected to post a net loss of $0.50 a share on revenues of $1.26 billion, slightly worse than the second-quarter loss of $0.48 per share.

The key for Tesla is producing and delivering its Model S sedans and Model X crossovers. The Model X will make little difference to third-quarter deliveries, but analysts and investors are going to want to hear good news about ramping up production of the new model.

Tesla has said it wants to deliver at least 50,000 cars in 2015, and 55,000 or more would be even better. The company has announced a preliminary total of 33,157 vehicles sold in the first three quarters of this year, leaving more than 16,800 needing to roll off the assembly line in the fourth quarter in order to reach the 50,000 mark. The math does not seem to be in Tesla’s favor.

Some recent analyst action has been lukewarm:

  • Robert Baird reiterated a Hold rating and price target of $282.
  • JPMorgan reiterated an Underweight rating and raised its price target from $178 to $180.
  • Barclays downgraded the stock to Sell.
  • S&P Equity Research upgrade the stock from Sell to Hold and put on a price target of $225.

The stock traded down about 0.7% at $212.24 Tuesday afternoon, in a 52-week range of $181.40 to $286.65. The consensus price target on the stock is $289.19, and the high target is $450.00.

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