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Nasdaq Hits New Records as Tesla Delivers, Keeps Soaring

By Dan Caplinger – Updated Jul 2, 2020 at 5:25PM

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Find out why the electric automaker has been such a big part of the Nasdaq's success.

The Nasdaq exchange has had some of the most exciting companies in the stock market, and they've helped to make the Nasdaq the first major market benchmark to reach new highs. On Thursday, the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 0.58%) and the Nasdaq 100 set fresh records, rising between 0.5% and 1%, and capping another strong week.

There are plenty of stocks listed on the Nasdaq that have seen impressive gains lately. But it's hard to find a stock that's generated more attention than Tesla (TSLA 3.89%), which used a positive announcement about its fundamental business strength to send its shares to new highs above the $1,200 mark.

Delivering for you

Shares of Tesla finished the day up around 8%, adding to big gains throughout the week. Although past increases came largely from speculation about the future, today's rise in the electric vehicle pioneer's stock was based purely on business performance.

Tesla delivered 90,650 vehicles during the second quarter of 2020. That wasn't quite as many as the car manufacturer managed during its busiest period in the fourth quarter of 2019, when it moved about 112,000 vehicles into customers' hands. However, the number was up from the 88,400 vehicle deliveries in the first quarter of 2020. That's a good showing, especially since the coronavirus pandemic caused more challenges in terms of shutdowns during the second quarter than it did in the first.

Most of the vehicles that Tesla's delivering are mass-market Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVs, which accounted for more than 80,000 of the total. Higher-priced Model S sedans and Model X SUVs added up to about 10,600.

Blue Tesla Model 3 on a road, with picturesque landscape behind.

Image source: Tesla.

Tesla's production figures stayed solid even though the company's California-based production facility was shut down for much of the period. Tesla manufactured 82,272 vehicles during the quarter, including nearly 76,000 Model 3s and Ys and more than 6,300 Model S and X units.

What's next for Tesla?

So far, most Tesla buyers have been content to get the benefit of the efficient electric engine and stylish trim on the vehicles they purchase. But Tesla is counting on technological advances, like self-driving capabilities, to bring in more revenue in the future.

Tesla reminded investors of its autonomous vehicle plans on Wednesday when it announced that it would boost the cost of its self-driving auto option by $1,000 to a new price tag of $8,000. The move comes even though the company is still a long way from getting any kind of regulatory approval for fully autonomous driving. Indeed, spending the money doesn't get buyers anything right now -- only the right to have it installed once it becomes available.

CEO Elon Musk has told prospective buyers that the $8,000 cost is a true bargain. In the future, Musk believes the real value of autonomous driving is closer to $100,000. Buyers should expect the sticker price for the package to rise toward that six-figure level as Tesla gets closer to final approval.

With Tesla being able to recognize as revenue at least a fraction of what it charges for self-driving based on the limited features that its Autopilot includes, some analysts believe that the money it's collecting is an important part of what's keeping the automaker profitable. With the potential to join the S&P 500 if it can turn a profit for the first quarter, the stakes are high for Tesla, but Musk seems determined to keep his eyes on the long-term prize for the growth stock .

Dan Caplinger 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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