The stock market crept forward on Tuesday to remain near all-time highs as investors absorbed the latest report on consumer confidence. According to Conference Board economist Lynn Franco, U.S. consumers were slightly less confident about the economy in December, but their expectations remain "at historically strong levels, suggesting economic growth will continue well into 2018."
Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 ultimately delivered modest gains on the day.
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Retail stocks pulled back after rallying on Tuesday following encouraging holiday sales data, and the SPDR S&P Retail EFT (NYSEMKT:XRT) fell 1.2%. Real estate stocks helped prop up the broader market; the iShares US Real Estate ETF (NYSEMKT:IYR) gained 0.4%.
As for individual stocks, Energous (NASDAQ:WATT) skyrocketed after the company received a key approval for its new wireless-charging technology, and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) fell on cautious words from Wall Street regarding its latest quarterly shipments.
Wireless charging -- from a distance
Shares of Energous soared 168.1% after the company announced Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certification of its first-generation WattUp Mid Field transmitter, a new product that can wirelessly charge devices from a distance.
WattUp can send radio frequency-based power to devices with either direct contact or at a distance of up to three feet away. By contrast, other wireless chargers to date eliminate the need for cords and plugs, but still require devices to be placed directly on an induction-based charging pad.
"WattUp from Energous represents an incredibly positive lifestyle change," explained Energous board member Martin Cooper. "This ground-breaking technology allows users to automatically charge their WattUp-enabled devices without having to remove them from their wrist or pocket, plug them in or place them on a mat to charge, freeing them from ever having to think about charging their devices again."
In addition to charging mobile devices, Energous noted WattUp technology could also be used to power everything from computer monitors to soundbars, smart speakers, TVs, and smart lighting.
To be clear, Energous has yet to achieve sustained profitability. Revenue last quarter arrived at just $250,000, and translated to a net loss of $12.7 million, or $0.58 per share. But given the industry-changing potential of WattUp, it's no surprise to see Energous stock soar today.
Analyst expects continued Model 3 production woes
Meanwhile, Tesla shares lost 1.8% after KeyBanc analyst Brad Erickson maintained his "Sector Weight" rating on the stock, but also revised his estimate for fourth-quarter deliveries of Model 3 electric vehicles to 5,000 units, down from 15,000 previously. Erickson based his drastic reduction on conversations with salespeople at 18 Tesla stores around the country over the past week.
Tesla has a history of falling short of its targets. Last quarter, management told investors they expected to produce roughly 1,500 Model 3 units, but only built 260 and delivered 222.
At the same time, Erickson noted "soft" Model 3 launch figures aren't "make or break" in these early stages, suggesting investors will remain more focused on production quality and the consumer response to those vehicles. He elaborated that Tesla likely met delivery targets for its more mature Model S sedan and Model X SUV operations.
For now, though, with shares up 46% so far in 2017, investors will need to wait until next week -- when Tesla is widely expected to release its latest vehicle delivery and production figures -- to see if Erickson's prediction proves true.