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Why Tesla Stock Jumped on Thursday

By Daniel Sparks – Oct 22, 2020 at 12:00PM

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The automaker generated significant free cash flow in the third quarter.

What happened

Shares of Tesla (TSLA 6.24%) jumped by as much as 5.3% on Thursday morning following its third-quarter earnings release. As of 11:30 a.m. EDT, however, the electric-car maker's stock was up about 3%.

The growth stock's move higher was driven by stronger-than-expected results. Both Tesla's revenue and non-GAAP earnings per share for Q3 easily beat analysts' consensus forecasts.

A chart showing a stock price moving higher

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Tesla reported revenue of $8.8 billion, up 39% year over year. Analysts, on average, had been expecting revenue of $8.4 billion. That growth, of course, was fueled primarily by a 44% year-over-year increase in total vehicle deliveries.

Non-GAAP (adjusted) earnings per share of $0.76 likewise handily beat analysts' average forecast of $0.57. Free cash flow for the quarter was particularly notable, coming in at $1.4 billion.

Now what

Importantly, Tesla continues to push toward its goal of delivering 500,000 vehicles this year. Compared to its 368,000 deliveries in 2019, that would be impressive growth, especially considering that the company's factories were shut down temporarily due to pandemic-necessitated stay-at-home orders.

"Achieving this target depends primarily on quarter over quarter increases in Model Y and Shanghai production," Tesla said in its third-quarter shareholder letter, "as well as further improvements in logistics and delivery efficiency at higher volume levels."

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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