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Why Tesla Stock Jumped on Thursday

By Daniel Sparks - Apr 30, 2020 at 11:24AM

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The electric-car maker surprised investors with a profit during its seasonally weak first quarter.

What happened

Shares of Tesla (TSLA -2.62%) jumped on Thursday, rising as much as 8.7%. As of 10:33 a.m. EDT, however, the stock was up 4.6%.

The growth stock's sharp gain follows the electric-car maker's first-quarter earnings release. Fueling investor optimism for the stock, Tesla announced better-than-expected adjusted earnings per share for the period.

A red Model 3

Tesla Model 3. Image source: Tesla.

So what

Tesla's first-quarter revenue increased 32% year over year to $5.99 billion, driven by a 40% year-over-year increase in vehicle deliveries. Non-GAAP (adjusted) earnings per share swung from a loss of $2.90 in the first quarter of 2019 to a profit of $1.24 in the first quarter of 2020. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue of $5.9 billion and an adjusted loss per share of $0.36. Tesla was also profitable under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), reporting net income of $16 million, or $0.09 per share.

Furthermore, Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn said in the company's earnings call that it ended Q1 with its highest-ever backlog of vehicle orders -- a notable achievement considering the macroeconomic backdrop and store closures due to COVID-19. "While sales and delivery operations have paused in many areas of the world, we are still receiving many online orders, despite inability for our customers to experience the product prior to ordering," Kirkhorn said.

Now what

Management did express caution about the current environment. "For our US factories, it remains uncertain how quickly we and our suppliers will be able to ramp production after resuming operations," it said in Tesla's first-quarter update. Accordingly, the company said it has the installed production capacity to exceed 500,000 vehicle deliveries this year but it did not reaffirm its expectation to actually deliver this many vehicles.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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