KEY POINTS

  • Tesla's good times roll on, with the company reporting profitable Q4 earnings and production numbers
  • Tesla delivered 367,500 EVs in 2019, a 50% increase year-on-year
  • The ongoing coronavirus outbreak in China won't seriously impact Tesla's operations there

Tesla's stock price skyrocketed to $654 in early evening trading Wednesday after opening at $575.69, a 14 percent jump. This surge followed the release of the company's better-than-expected fourth quarter 2019 earnings report, and upbeat production and delivery numbers.

Tesla beat earnings estimates by a wide margin, raking-in $105 million (56 cents a share) in Q4  compared to $140 million (78 cents a share) year-on-year. Adjusted for one-time items, the company earned $2.14 a share compared to $2 a share a year ago.

Tesla reported a two percent hike in revenue to $7.4 billion compared to $7.2 billion year-on-year. The expectation among analysts polled by FactSet was for adjusted earnings of $1.77 a share on sales of $7 billion. The company also said it had attained profitability in Q4, after doing the same in Q3.

Tesla's stock has been going great since mid-December. It's set a bevy of records that have pushed the company’s valuation above $100 billion, which is larger than the Ford Motor Company’s valuation at its peak in 1999.

Tesla reported deliveries of 112,000 electric vehicles (EVs) globally during the fourth quarter, a quarterly record. These deliveries were significantly higher than Wall Street estimates.

Tesla delivered 367,500 EVs in 2019, a 50 percent increase year-on-year, and in line with its guidance range of 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles. The 2020 delivery guidance is a 36 percent jump over the 2019 deliveries.

Tesla said it's already begun ramping-up to assemble the new Model Y crossover SUV at the Tesla Factory in Fremont, California. The first models of this SUV should start rolling off the lines in March. Tesla will also build the Model Y at the Gigafactiory Europe soon to be built in Brandernburg, Germany in 2021.

Tesla delivered “a potentially ‘game changing’ Q4 with strong profitability and healthy cash flow signaling what could be a new era for (Musk) and Fremont going forward,” said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, a perennial Tesla bull.

Ives said the Q4 performance was “impressive, with clear momentum looking ahead as a global inflection in EV demand appears on the horizon." Tesla’s “bull party” is likely to continue, he said.

The after-hours share surge continued when Tesla later hosted a conference call with investors.

Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn said during the call Tesla expects “a one- to one-and-a-half-week delay in the ramp of Shanghai-built Model 3 due to a government-required factory shutdown” related to the raging coronavirus outbreak sweeping through China.

“This may slightly impact profitability for the quarter, but is limited, as the profit contribution from Model 3 Shanghai remains in the early stages,” he said. “We are also closely monitoring whether there will be interruptions in the supply chain for cars built in Fremont,” but Tesla so far is not aware of anything material.

Tesla's Model 3 kept on display. Tesla's Model 3 electric cars on display. A probe report that appears to suggest a likely error with the Autopilot may have caused a crash in California in March 2018 is likely to worry users. Photo: AFP / STR