Tesla Inc.'s (TSLA) fourth quarter 2016 earnings, set for release Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. PST, may fall somewhat short of the excitement that followed the announcement of its second-ever positive earnings in late October, according to some analysts.

The automaker, led by South African inventor and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, was expected to report a loss of 51 cents per share, up from an 87-cent loss in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to a FactSet poll.

Tesla missed its quarterly vehicle delivery target of 25,000 by 2,800 cars, dropping its total 2016 deliveries to 76,230, just short of its 79,000-unit objective, Zacks Investment Research noted Monday, advising investors to sell their shares of the automaker.

Not everyone was pessimistic, however. Analysts at the investment bank Morgan Stanley raised their expectations for the company's share price, quarterly earnings and future fiscal year earnings, based on anticipation for a positive upcoming launch of the Model 3.

RTX30838 Production for Tesla Inc.'s mass-market Model 3 electric cars, pictured above in a March 31, 2016 handout, were set for production in mid-2017, according to the company website. Photo: Reuters

Purchases of Tesla shares on financial services firm Robinhood Markets Inc.’s one million investor-strong trading platform have also been up 25 percent, with 1.6 times more buys than sales of the stock. That was compared to 1.2 times as many buys as sales in the lead-up to the third quarter release, a company spokesperson wrote International Business Times in an email.

Tesla’s share price has been on the rise since early December, climbing above $280 in mid-February — nearly $100 above its value Dec. 2.

Auto sales and share price aside, the company recently missed the mark in terms of safety, when its Model S failed to attain a crash test rating routinely achieved by dozens of makes. Still, in more positive news for the Palo Alto-based company in Northern California, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ended its investigation in January of a fatal Model S crash involving Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot feature May 7. NHSTA supported the automaker’s view that, contrary to some reports, the software had not been marketed as a fully autonomous driving mechanism, but rather as an assisted driving system.