- Tesla reported its earnings for the final quarter of 2020 on Wednesday afternoon.
- Elon Musk's automaker missed Wall Street's earnings expectations by about 20%.
- Shares of Tesla fell sharply in late trading following the news.
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Tesla posted yet another quarterly profit to close out 2020, but fell short of Wall Street's expectations, as the electric automaker continues to grow its sales and turn a profit despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are the important numbers:
- Revenue: $10.744 billion, compared to an expected $10.33 billion
- Earnings: $0.80 (adjusted) per share, compared to an expected $1.01 per share.
Shares of Tesla fell about 4% in late trading Wednesday following the EPS miss. The stock has risen more than 650% in the past year, helping mint CEO Elon Musk as the world's richest person.
"Despite unforeseen global challenges, we outpaced many trends seen elsewhere in the industry as we significantly increased volumes, profitability and cash generation," the company said in a press release.
Tesla expects to begin delivering its electric semi-truck in 2021, it said, as well as a souped-up "plaid" version of its Model X. Production of the semi was originally supposed to begin in 2019, and some apparent versions have been previously spotted in the wild.
Revenue from selling regulatory tax credits to other automakers, a significant catalyst for Tesla's five previous consecutive profits, grew to $2.24 billion - or about one-fifth of overall revenues.
The company did not provide 2021 guidance for its automotive production, but said it expects "50% average annual growth" on a multi-year outlook. In 2020, it fell very slightly short of its 500,000 deliveries goal.
"Importantly, all eyes will be focused on the company's delivery unit guidance for 2021, with the trajectory looking like ~750k to 800k with our view that the 1 million threshold could be hit by 2022 for Tesla," Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush, said in a note to clients.
On a conference call with investors and analysts later Wednesday, Musk will likely be pressed for updates on Tesla's under-construction factories in Germany and Texas, ongoing production acceleration in China, and more granular detail on sales of higher-margin vehicles.