The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) had lost all of the day's gain by 3 p.m. EDT, leaving it 10 points under breakeven, even after new figures showed initial claims for unemployment benefits declined 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 319,000 last week. The Nasdaq index also traded higher for much of the day before dropping 24 points into the red.
With that in mind, here's a couple of companies making the headlines today.
One of the Nasdaq momentum stocks has been Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA ) , which was down nearly 11%. The reason behind the stock's abrupt drop is its lofty valuation in combination with generally accepted accounting principles earnings coming in below estimates for its latest quarter.
Sure, Tesla's non-GAAP earnings, excluding one-time items, checked in at $0.12 per share, which was ahead of the Street's $0.10 estimate. But the company delivered a net loss of $50 million, or ($0.40) per share, in GAAP earnings.
Yesterday Tesla was trading at roughly 40% of the market capitalization of Ford, which makes a difficult comparison as the former continues to burn through net income while the latter posted one of its best years in company history in 2013 with $8.6 billion in pretax profit. Tesla's high valuation has some shortsighted investors heading to the door, even though its long-term business has massive potential.
Despite its net loss, Tesla keeps coming through on its promises to shareholders. In the first quarter the company met its goal on production rate, deliveries, infrastructure gains, and automotive gross margin of 25%. It is on schedule to break ground on the first of two gigafactories. Tesla also noted that its first-quarter net orders rose significantly worldwide, compared to the fourth quarter, and that included a 10% growth in North America.
In other automotive news, Ford (NYSE: F ) is having quite an eventful 24 hours. Yesterday after market close, Ford announced it would buy back 116 million shares for roughly $1.8 billion. The move will offset share dilution from stock grants, as well as shares that may be issued to holders of convertible debt -- all in all, it will reduce Ford's diluted share count by about 3%. As Ford continues to improve its cash generation and profitability abroad, this could just be the first step to larger share repurchases from a company that seems undervalued and has strong liquidity.
Following that announcement, Ford released impressive sales results from China. Ford China sold 96,829 vehicles in April, up 29% from the same month last year. Year-to-date sales just topped 368,000 vehicles, which is an impressive 41% gain against the first four months of 2013.
Ford's Focus sales rose 11% to 34,006 in April, while the Kuga (Escape) was up 16% to 11,102 vehicles. Ford's Mondeo (Fusion) also increased its sales more than fivefold last month to 10,476 vehicles. The automaker is also launching new vehicles in the nation with debuts of the all-new Ford Escort and Mustang at last month's Beijing Auto Show. China is the world's largest automotive market, and Ford continues to aggressively expand its vehicle offering in the country to meet its goal of doubling market share from 3% to 6% by the end of 2015.
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