Tesla earnings: Investors are asking if 2020 sales guidance is intact


Tesla Inc. is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings after the bell Wednesday, with Wall Street hoping that a fifth straight quarterly profit is in the offing.

Tesla
TSLA,
-0.27%
is hosting a conference call with analysts and others to discuss the results at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk made waves this week, announcing a surprise starting price cut for Tesla’s luxury sedan Model S to $ 69,420 for a base model from $71,990 previously.

Wall Street will parse that out in light of Tesla’s goal to sell around half a million vehicles in 2020, and keep an eye out for any sales guidance updates.

“We think the expectation is that they will fall short and we believe that the Street will be forgiving, understanding that the Covid factory shutdowns were the culprit,” said CFRA analyst Nelson Garrett.

At the September battery showcase, the company announced a new top-of-the-line version of the Model S, to be available next year, as well as a yet-to-be-named vehicle under $25,000.

Tesla earlier this month reported third-quarter deliveries of 139,300 vehicles, which was above Wall Street expectations.

Here’s what else to expect:

Earnings: The 37 analysts polled by FactSet on average expect Tesla to report an adjusted profit of 54 cents a share for the quarter. That would compare with an adjusted profit of 33 cents a share in the year-ago quarter.

It also would be a fifth consecutive GAAP and adjusted per-share profit for the car maker,. Tesla’s hopes that its stock would join the S&P 500 index were dashed when the index recently made changes to its components.

Estimize, a crowdsourcing platform that gathers estimates from Wall Street analysts as well as buy-side analysts, fund managers, company executives, academics and others, is expecting an adjusted profit of 65 cents a share for Tesla.

Revenue: The analysts surveyed by FactSet expect sales of $8.25 billion for Tesla, which would be up from $6.30 billion in the third quarter of 2019. Estimize sees third-quarter revenue of $8.38 billion for Tesla.

Stock movement: Tesla shares have quintupled this year, compared with gains of around 9% for the S&P 500 index
SPX,
+0.49%
and about 1% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
DJIA,
+0.86%

What else to expect: Investors will be keen on hearing updates on the construction of the Tesla plants going up in Germany and the Austin, Texas, area.

Another point of interest are updates on Autopilot, Tesla’s suite of advanced driver-assistance systems, and the company’s plan to offer insurance more broadly based on Autopilot-related safety enhancements.

Adam Jonas of Morgan Stanley said in a recent note he expects Tesla to be in a better position to offer a ride-hailing system.

As for deliveries, Jonas upped his 2020 Tesla sales expectations to 489,721 vehicles from 474,820.

The analyst increased his price target on the stock to $333 from $272. That represents 25% downside from Friday’s share price. The FactSet average price target on Tesla is $345.85, with most analysts rating the stock at hold.



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