Why Tesla Shares Are Up After Posting More Losses

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Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) reported first-quarter 2018 earnings after markets closed on Wednesday. For the quarter, the electric car maker posted an adjusted diluted loss per share loss of $3.35 on revenues of $3.41 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported a loss per share of $1.03 on revenues of $2.7 billion. First-quarter results compare to consensus estimates calling for a per share loss of $3.48 and $3.22 billion in revenues.

Automotive revenues, including leasing, totaled $2.74 billion in the first quarter, up from $2.29 billion in the first quarter of last year.

In April Tesla said it built 34,494 vehicles in the first quarter of this year: a total of 24,728 Model S sedans and Model X crossovers and 9,766 Model 3 sedans. Total production rose 40% sequentially and Model 3 output rose by a factor of 4.

Regarding Model 3 production, Tesla reported three straight weeks of production surpassing 2,000 a week with production reaching 2,270 in the last of those weeks. The company expects to reach production of 5,000 a week “in about two months” at which point it expects to break even sometime in the second quarter and to post a profit in the third and fourth quarters.

In its outlook statement the company said it expects to shut down production for about 10 days in the second quarter, counting the April shutdown, to “address bottlenecks across the lines and increase production to new levels.”

Deliveries of the Model S and Model X vehicles are expected to be “similar” to first-quarter deliveries and should “pick up considerably” in the third quarter. Tesla still expects to meet its target of 100,000 vehicles delivered in 2018.

Tesla has significantly cut its planned 2018 capital spending from $3.4 billion last year to below $3 billion and focus on “critical near-term needs that benefit the company primarily in the next couple of years.

As unexciting as all this sounds, Tesla did post a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss and a larger than expected amount of revenue. The Tesla bulls have come out after an initial run by the bears and shares are beginning to move higher in Wednesday’s after-hours session.

There is basically no awful news in Tesla’s quarterly report and the promise of earning a profit in the second half of the year must sound pretty good to investors.

Shares traded up about 1.1% at $302.20 after closing at $304.50 in a 52-week range of $244.59 to $389.61. The stock’s 12-month consensus price target before the earnings report was $316.92.

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