Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) jumped today; it's up about 7%. The move comes in anticipation of the company's third-quarter results, which will be released tomorrow after the market closes. The move prompts two important questions: Why has the stock jumped so sharply, and is there any reason to act on the major price swing? Let's dig in.
Setting the stage for volatility
Given Tesla's soaring stock price, investors should expect extreme volatility. Since Tesla reported second-quarter results, the stock has soared more than 25%. Back out a year and the stock is up nearly 500%. Tesla has literally exploded onto the scene, and investors have bullishly bought up shares. In light of these massive price swings, a 7% movement seems rather small. Volatility for Tesla shareholders is the norm.
Even more, Tesla's volatility goes beyond its recent rapid gains. The bullish valuation leans heavily on future expectations for incredible growth, making volatility even more likely. To add some perspective, Tesla trades at about 13.9 times sales while Ford and General Motors trade at 0.5 and 0.4 times sales, respectively. Or as Motley Fool contributor Sean Williams likes to point out, Tesla's market capitalization comes in at about $1 million per car. With a valuation like this, investors should expect market sensitivity to any news.
A bullish outlook
No meaningful evidence has surfaced that suggests Tesla could report worse than expected results tomorrow, and that's likely why the stock is rising ahead of the results. And limited only by supply, Tesla just needs to solve production bottlenecks in order to significantly boost vehicle deliveries -- an event that is far easier to predict than consumer demand.
In the second quarter, Tesla guided for "slightly over" 5,000 vehicles deliveries in Q3. Analysts think Tesla will easily beat this outlook, estimating that Tesla will report about 6,200 units sold in the third quarter.
Mr. Market's nonsense
Whether you are a shareholder or a prospective investor, there is no reason to act on this big move. Instead of speculating on the results and taking action now, there's no reason not to wait for the company to report earnings so you can get a better pulse on the its future growth potential. While the market scrambles to speculate ahead of the results, Foolish investors can sit back, wait for the numbers, and reevaluate the company's outlook after they read the results.