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Tesla extends quarterly profit streak, opening path to S&P 500

Tesla delivered 90,650 vehicles from its factory in Fremont, Calif., in the second quarter.
(David Butow / For The Times)

Tesla Inc. posted a fourth consecutive quarterly profit, a milestone that paves the way for the electric-car maker to join the ranks of the blue-chip S&P 500 Index.

The results reflect the unconventional efforts that Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, has made to shore up earnings in the midst of a global pandemic that’s expected to leave other U.S. automakers posting losses. The profit may further boost Tesla’s already lofty share price, which has quadrupled since March in part based on speculation the stock could be added to the S&P 500.

Tesla reported a profit of 50 cents a share based on generally accepted accounting principles Wednesday, beating analysts’ consensus estimate for a loss of $1.06 a share. Revenue fell to $6.04 billion, topping analysts’ expectations for $5.4 billion.

A 12-month period of profitability meets criteria the Standard & Poor’s index committee uses when deciding whether to add stocks to the S&P 500. Adding Tesla to the benchmark probably would force money managers who track the index to buy the stock.

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Tesla’s shares, which closed at $1,592.33 Wednesday, moved higher in late trading.

A year ago, Tesla was trading around $260 a share. Buoyed by optimism about growing sales and steps to expand production overseas, the stock’s massive gain so far this year has vaulted it into the pole position among global automakers.

Tesla cautioned that achieving its goal of delivering 500,000 vehicles this year has become more difficult. In January, it said it expected to “comfortably exceed” that level of deliveries for the year.

The carmaker delivered 90,650 vehicles in the second quarter, up from 88,400 in the first three months of the year despite a lengthy shutdown at its factory in Fremont, Calif.


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