Tesla’s Elon Musk boosted by analysts’ praise of net-profit, sales results

Tesla’s California billionaire CEO Elon Musk put up the roughest start to a year in the second half of 2017. But he’s trying to make up for it this year, showing there’s still confidence in his car company.

After the company’s earnings were released after the bell on Friday, Tesla shares were up 3.5 percent at 5:05 p.m. ET. As they did throughout the day, analysts lauded the company for both its earnings report and its strong guidance for the coming year. Analysts at Jefferies reported on Friday that it is raising its price target to $1,400 from $1,200 on hopes of a strong fourth quarter. The company has a $220 billion market capitalization, its highest ever. Jefferies cited Musk’s “phenomenal operational execution,” citing the fifth-straight quarter with margins better than expectations.

Over at Wedbush, analysts reiterated their outperform rating on the stock with a price target of $325, a 14 percent increase on their previous target price.

That comes after an optimistic earnings report, where Tesla reports a net profit and increased sales figures. Tesla said its net income amounted to $311 million for the third quarter, or $2.75 per share, handily beating analysts’ expectations of $1.50 per share.

Fourth-quarter gross profit margins are expected to rise to 38 percent to 39 percent, Tesla said.

Tesla is also set to start producing cars at a new plant in China, the most important market for a company betting it can eventually sell hundreds of thousands of electric cars a year to Chinese consumers. Tesla and partner Panasonic Corp. will begin initial production at a Gigafactory near Shanghai in the fourth quarter. An agreement with Tesla is in place with Chinese authorities for a factory in Shanghai. The company has said the factory could eventually employ as many as 4,000 workers.


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