Tesla Inc. stock rallied more than 6% late Wednesday after the Silicon Valley car maker reported quarterly earnings that topped Wall Street views and set a goal to “comfortably” sell more than 500,000 vehicles this year.
said it earned $105 million, or 56 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $140 million, or 78 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted for one-time items, the company earned $2.14 a share, compared with $2 a share a year ago.
Revenue rose 2% to $7.4 billion, compared with $7.2 billion a year ago.
Analysts polled by FactSet had expected the car maker to report adjusted earnings of $1.77 a share on sales of $7 billion.
Tesla delivered “a potentially ‘game changing’ (fourth quarter) with strong profitability and healthy cash flow signaling what could be a new era for (Chief Executive Elon Musk) and Fremont going forward,” analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush said in a note after the results.
The quarterly performance was “impressive with clear momentum looking ahead as a global inflection in EV demand appears on the horizon,” he said. Tesla’s “bull party” is likely to continue, Ives said.
The company said the production ramp of its Model Y, a compact SUV, started this month ahead of schedule. The Model Y production ramp will be gradual as the company will install additional machinery in its Fremont, Calif., plant, it said.
And thanks to the Model 3 production ramp in its Shanghai plant, “production will likely outpace deliveries this year.” It said it expects production out of its future Berlin factory, serving European markets, in 2021.
Tesla said it expects positive quarterly cash flow going forward “with possible temporary exceptions.”
“We continue to believe our business has grown to the point of being self-funding,” Tesla said in its letter to investors.
Tesla also called for GAAP profitability going forward. “Continuous volume growth, capacity expansion, and cash generation remain the main focus,” it said in the letter.
Tesla delivered 367,500 vehicles in 2019, up 50% from a year ago, and in line with its guidance range of 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles.
Tesla has scheduled a conference call with analysts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. The call will be webcast.
Going into earnings day, analysts had worried Tesla would need a large beat in order to not disappoint investors.
The stock has been on a tear since mid-December, hitting a string of records that have pushed the company’s valuation above $100 billion, which is more than Ford Motor Co.’s valuation at its peak in 1999.
Tesla shares have gained about 94% in the past 12 months, far outpacing advances of 25% and 18% for the S&P 500 index
and the Dow Jones Industrial Average