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Tesla adds $144 billion to market value after record deliveries

A truck is loaded with Tesla cars.
Tesla’s worldwide deliveries totaled 308,600 vehicles in the fourth quarter, well ahead of the average analyst estimate of roughly 263,000 vehicles.
(Associated Press)

Tesla Inc. is off to a strong start to the new year after the electric-car maker smashed its quarterly record for deliveries in what one analyst called a “trophy-case” performance.

The company’s shares jumped 14% in New York, their biggest gain since March and the best start to a year since Tesla went public more than a decade ago. The $144 billion in market value that Tesla added Monday is the equivalent of an entire Honeywell International Inc. or Starbucks Corp. It’s also more than the value of almost 90% of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

Worldwide deliveries totaled 308,600 vehicles in the fourth quarter, well ahead of the average analyst estimate of roughly 263,000 vehicles, and topping the company’s previous record of 241,300 in the prior quarter. Annual handovers surged to more than 936,000 in 2021, up 87% from the previous year’s level, Austin, Texas-based Tesla said Sunday.

“This is a trophy-case quarter for Tesla as the company blew away even bull-case expectations,” Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said in an email. He called it a “jaw-dropper performance” for the end of the year that gives the company “massive tailwinds” heading into 2022.

While regulators investigate a spate of Teslas steering themselves into parked vehicles, Tesla owners have been reporting faulty collision-avoidance systems.

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The record quarter underscores the “green tidal wave taking hold” for Tesla and Chief Executive Elon Musk, Ives said in a note to clients. The results also point to robust demand in China and Tesla’s skill at navigating the global semiconductor shortage, he said.

Musk, who has pledged delivery growth despite the “supply-chain nightmare” of 2021, praised his crew on Twitter.

Quarterly deliveries are one of the most closely watched indicators for Tesla. They underpin its financial results and are widely seen as a barometer of consumer demand for electric vehicles as a whole because the company has led the charge for battery-powered cars.

Tesla has said repeatedly that it expects 50% annual increases in deliveries over a multiyear period. The seventh consecutive quarterly gain comes amid a global semiconductor slump that has crimped production at most other automakers and kept sales in check despite rising demand.

“Tesla continues to execute well, posting deliveries and production above consensus expectations,” Cowen analyst Jeffrey Osborne said. “As the competition heats up from incumbent OEMs and new entrants alike, we see 2022 becoming a critical year for Tesla.”

The EV market leader’s stock soared almost 50% in 2021 to give it a market valuation exceeding $1 trillion — one of only a handful of U.S.-based public companies to achieve that status.

The shares reached a record high in early November before plunging after Musk began unloading 10% of his stake.

— With assistance from Bloomberg writers Kristine Owram, Dana Hull and Tom Contiliano.


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