Tesla Stock Slips After Missing on Q4 Earnings

By Adriaan Brits Thursday, January 28, 2021

Tesla stock price fell over 5% in after-hours trading Wednesday after the EV (electric vehicle) company missed on earnings in Q4.

Tesla Motors storefront.

Earnings Miss, Revenue Beat

Tesla reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.80, which is lower than the $1.03 per share expected from the market. The revenue print was better — $10.74 billion vs. $10.4 billion expected.

"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.

Gross margins were reported at 19.2% for the EV company, marking the lowest print since the final quarter of last year. Capital expenditures were reported at $1.15 billion.

The EV business was less precise on the forward-guidance, although it confirmed it expects a much faster delivery growth. Tesla expects its new plants in Austin, Texas, and Brandenburg, Germany, to come online in 2021.

“Over a multi-year horizon, we expect to achieve 50% average annual growth in vehicle deliveries,” the company added in the statement.

During a call with investors, CEO Elon Musk confirmed deliveries of the refreshed version of Model S are due to start next month. He also confirmed that the EV business would start producing its crossover SUV “Model Y” at these new plants. The new model will be equipped with the company’s own new “tabless” battery cells.

Analysts saw the latest quarterly results from the EV business as a “mixed bag.”

“Given the run in the name, an earnings ‘miss,’ no specific 2021 guidance and potential supply constraints, we could see the stock take a breather. But, to long-term believers, there is likely little to deter their thinking,” Joe Spak, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said in a note.

"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," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note to clients.

Startup Savant reported last week that the EV business recently delivered the first Shanghai-made versions of its much-anticipated Model Y crossover EV.

Tesla stock price currently trades at $823.99 in pre-open Wednesday, which is 4.65% lower than the closing price of the stock yesterday.


The EV business Tesla reported lower-than-expected earnings for its Q4, while revenue came in higher than the Street consensus. The company said it expects to achieve 50% average annual growth in vehicle deliveries.

About the Author

Headshot for author Adriaan Brits
As an analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in Advanced Analytics & Media.

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