Tesla earnings let air out of mini-EV rally
Revenue from energy and storage division weakest in a year, but vehicle sales encouraging, especially in China
Tesla’s earnings beat on both the top and bottom lines this week but as usual with Elon Musk, investors focused on the sizzle, or in this case lack of it. Still, vehicle sales growth numbers are worth a look, particularly in China.
A mini-rally in electric vehicle stocks Tuesday and Wednesday as the overall market rebounded, with shares of Rivian (RIVN) and Lucid Motors (LCID) rising on minor positive news, and Tesla surging early Wednesday ahead of its earnings, fizzled later in the day, before Tesla’s results came out. Shares continued falling Thursday.
Supply chain issues dogged the company to the point where Musk said it would introduce no new models this year. That, and news that revenue in its energy and storage business was down 8%, deflated any enthusiasm to take the stock further.
The speculation around the shares belied positive news around Tesla vehicle sales that should be closely watched. The company produced and sold more than 308,000 cars in the fourth quarter. Sales rose every quarter of calendar 2021 to more than 935,000 vehicles for the year, meaning the company should comfortably pass one million and likely 1.2 million vehicle sales this year, supply chains willing.
Vehicles made in Tesla’s Shanghai plant totaled sales of more than 473,000 in the year, according to Reuters. That’s more than half of all sales, and a stark reminder of the company’s reliance on the Chinese market. Of that group, more than 70,000 were sold in just December alone.
Tesla’s stock price is notoriously volatile around earnings time, but in a market worried about higher interest rates, supply chain issues and recession, the sales numbers were a refreshing look at who’s buying what and where.