Tesla: Q1 earnings

Summary of Tesla's earnings for its first quarter, following which shares went down 4% in after-hours trading (9.15pm).

 

Revenue

Earnings per share

Expected

$704.5 million 7.4 cents

Actual

$713 million 12 cents

 

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Although top line figures were well ahead of estimates, electric-car maker Tesla still saw its share price drop after first quarter results last night.

Was it the failure to beat a high ‘whisper number’? Or that the company actually made a loss when exceptional items are included? Or was it the weak forward earnings guidance?

Whatever it was, it is clear that Tesla is still paying the price for the stratospherically high earnings expectations that have been built into the share price. Yes, the stock is up 30% over the course of the year so far, versus a decline of 3.6% for the NASDAQ, but most of that gain came in February, and we have seen declines since then.

The headline number may have been good, but once exceptional items are included the company actually incurred a loss of 40 cents per share for the quarter, which compares with a break-even position a year ago. In addition, tech and research and development spending is set to rise at the company, putting further pressure on margins.

Tesla has to do phenomenally well to live up to the expectations placed upon it. This time around, it fell short.

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