Earnings Preview: Will Tesla Deliver in Q1?

Earnings season is well underway, and some of the biggest names in the market are reporting this week. Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is kicking it off with its most recent quarterly results coming after the closing bell on Monday. Look out for Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and more coming this week.

From Tesla, analysts are calling for $0.79 in earnings per share (EPS) on $10.29 billion in revenue for the first quarter. The same period of last year reportedly EPS of $0.23 in EPS and $5.99 billion in revenue.

The company recently noted 184,800 first-quarter deliveries, beating the FactSet consensus estimate of 168,000 vehicles. Tesla said it produced just over 180,000 vehicles in the period. Sales of its Model 3 sedans and Model Y compact sport utility vehicles came to 182,780. The consensus forecast was for 122,600 Model 3s and about 10,000 Model Ys sold.

Tesla saw its short interest rise into the most recent settlement date, even as shares rallied. Note that the number of shares short was more than double that of a year ago, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Short sellers increased their positions in the two-week period ending on March 31 to 46.27 million. At the end of the previous period, 44.73 million shares were short.

A year ago, just 20.10 million Tesla shares were sold short. One contributing factor to the rise over the past year has been that Tesla has issued millions of shares in secondary offerings and even conducted a stock split. Furthermore, the stock has risen about 512% over the past 52 weeks.

Here’s what a few analysts said about Tesla ahead of the report:

  • Mizuho reiterated a Buy rating with an $820 price target.
  • Canaccord Genuity upgraded it to Buy from Hold.
  • Goldman Sachs reiterated its Buy rating.
  • Wedbush reiterated a Buy rating and has a $1,000 price target.
  • Jefferies reiterated it at Hold but cut its price target to $700 from $775.

Excluding Monday’s move, Tesla stock had underperformed the broad markets with a gain of only about 3% year to date. In the past 52 weeks, the share price was roughly 417% higher.

Tesla stock traded up 2% on Monday to $746.03, in a 52-week range of $136.61 to $900.40. The consensus price target is $650.81.

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