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Why Tesla Stock Raced Higher on Thursday

By Rich Smith – Dec 23, 2021 at 7:05AM

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Wall Street must count higher as it struggles to keep up with Tesla's growing sales.

What happened

Tesla (TSLA -0.94%) stock revved higher Thursday morning as Wall Street analysts competed to offer increasingly optimistic forecasts for the electric car company's fourth-quarter "deliveries."

As of 11:40 a.m. ET, Tesla stock was riding 3.7% higher than yesterday's close.

Lights streak down a red electric car racing down the highway.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

As reports, yesterday analysts at RBC Capital predicted that when Tesla releases its sales data for Q4, this will reveal the company sold 285,000 electric cars in the quarter -- up 18% sequentially from last quarter, and up 58% year over year.  

If RBC's right about that, Tesla would also end up selling 8.6% more cars than even RBC originally forecast, and 6.7% more than the "consensus" number of 267,000 -- but that isn't the best news for Tesla investors. 

This morning, investment bank Credit Suisse one-upped RBC with a prediction that Tesla's deliveries could come in even higher. According to CS, Tesla will deliver 290,000 electric cars in Q4.

Now what

And even that isn't the best news for Tesla investors.

As my fellow Fool Daniel Sparks pointed out earlier this week, Tesla is currently only 122,428 vehicles away from meeting its self-imposed goal of delivering 750,000 electric cars in 2021. If Credit Suisse's numbers are accurate, Tesla will end up selling 155,000 cars in December alone -- meeting its internal target in just one month, instead of the three allotted.

In a final note, CS confirms Tesla CEO Elon Musk's own observation that "Tesla has far more demand than production." With car buyers clamoring for its cars, the only thing preventing Tesla from growing its sales numbers even more at this point is Tesla's own limited ability to churn out the cars as fast as customers want to buy them.

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

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