Tesla’s stock soars over 20% on profit, sales news

Tesla Model S, image courtesy of Tesla.

Tesla’s stock is soaring Monday morning on news late Sunday night that the company will turn its first profit in the first quarter of 2013, for both non-GAAP and GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles). Tesla had already given guidance last month that it expected a non-GAAP profit next quarter, but now Tesla says it will be profitable in Q1 for GAAP, as well, regardless of non-cash options and warrant-related expenses.

The bump in guidance was due to Tesla on track to ship 250 more Model S cars than expected, bringing the quarter’s total to 4,750 (vs. the prior estimate of 4,500). Tesla is making 400 Model S cars per week.

As of 8:20 AM PST, Tesla’s stock had hit $46.18, up 22 percent from its opening price. That’s the highest price of Tesla’s stock since it went public in the Summer of 2010. That’s a 5-day chart for Tesla’s stock below.

Tesla stock

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said in a statement:

There have been many car startups over the past several decades, but profitability is what makes a company real. Tesla is here to stay and keep fighting for the electric car revolution.

The fourth quarter of 2012 was a breakthrough time for Tesla as it moved from low volume assembly of its Model S car to full volume production. This move is crucial for Tesla to reach profitability on recurring quarters and hit 25 percent gross margins (it was at 8 percent at the end of 2012).

Musk has tweeted that he’s planning to make another “big announcement” for Tesla on Tuesday. Could it be that he’s buying up more shares in Tesla? Tesla has an unusually large amount of short sellers. Musk said he plans to “put his money where his mouth is.”

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