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Tesla (TSLA) Up 5% Following Q1 Miss, In-Line Sales

Premier American electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors (TSLA) has released Q1 earnings after the bell Wednesday, with results largely in-line with what we've seen from the company's pre-guidance earlier. A bottom line of -$1.24 per share on sales (accounting for stock-based compensation and other BNRI) on $1.6 billion in the quarter compare with Zacks consensus expectations of -$0.78 and $1.59 billion, respectively. So the wider-than-expected loss is definitely a big miss, but Tesla is still all about forward sales.

The good news for Tesla this quarter came from its various outlooks: the company bumped up its 500K units-per-year goal from as of year 2020 to 2018 now. Deliveries for the very popular Model 3 (400K+ advanced orders) stay in line for deliveries beginning late 2017, and its Gigafactory remains on target to deliver its first batteries late this year. Model S deliveries were 45 percent higher year over year, again in-line with estimates.

Tesla's lowered guidance for Q1 deliveries of 14,820 (from 16K originally) nearly met the expectation but was short by 10 cars. Q2 deliveries are now expected to reach 17K instead of the earlier guidance of 19K. Much of this stems from supplier parts shortages for the Model X, which has since been resolved. Yet another reminder that Tesla is still a toddler in the auto-manufacturing game. But the Model X has grown substantially quarter over quarter, producing roughly 500 SUVs in Q4, but over 2600 in Q1.

Shares are up more than 5 percent following the mildly positive earnings results. (Tesla is one of those companies where actuals can swing wildly from estimates quarter to quarter, so an in-line report can be seen as something of a victory of steadiness.) This follows a big move down in regular Wednesday trading and a woeful -12 percent over the last 5 trading days, so we see traders sopping up some of the value here. The VIX ahead of the earnings report was +/- 9.4 percent.

The big stuff is still to come for this company -- Gigafactory production, Model 3 deliveries. If these bigger-scale projects manage to take hold in a meaningful way for Tesla, we may see new valuations unfold for this stock, which is currently at a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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