Tesla has a nearly perfect corporate day

First an earnings beat impressed Wall Street. Then becoming Consumer Reports' top-scoring car in 6 years impressed the world.

By Jonathan Berr May 10, 2013 9:55AM
Tesla (TSLA), billionaire Elon Musk's electric carmaker, had one of the best days on Thursday that any corporation has had in recent memory. Not only did the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company report a better-than-expected earnings, but Consumer Reports gave its Model S the highest grade it has given any vehicle since 2007 and described it glowingly as "something Marty McFly might have brought back from the future."
Shares of Tesla surged more than 23% by Thursday afternoon, giving the carmaker a market capitalization of $8 billion, topping Italy's Fiat (FIATY), the parent company of Chrysler, and France's Peugeot. These companies have more than a century head start on Tesla, which was founded in 2003.

Tesla earned $11.2 million in the last quarter, reversing a year-ago loss. Excluding one-time items, profit was 12 cents per share, exceeding the 4-cent profit analysts had forecast. Revenue surged 1,761% to $562 million from $30.2 million a year earlier, topping analysts' estimates of $500 million.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk drives a Model S at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif. on October 1, 2011 (© Stephen Lam/Newscom/Reuters)This was the first time in Tesla’s decade-long history that it was in the black. It's also vindication for Musk following his recent dustup with The New York Times over a  negative review that he said was unfair. Pundits are already likening Musk to Apple's (AAPL) legendary co-founder Steve Jobs. Google (GOOG) seems an apt comparison as well.

"Tesla is Apple on the outside, but it's Google at its core," wrote Farhad Manjoo at Slate.com.

The company expects to deliver 21,000 vehicles this year. Model S buyers will need to wait as long as three months to get one. And with a base price around $70,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, they aren’t cheap, either.

However, the spike in Tesla's stock price is bringing back memories of the dot-com bubble. "It has nothing to do with Tesla's fundamentals," consultant Maryann Keller told Bloomberg. "It has to do with pie-in-the-sky aspirations that don't reflect the realities of the auto industry."

Her skepticism is understandable. TSLA is trading at a multiple of more than 4,000 based on 2013 earnings estimates, making the stock way too expensive to recommend.

Tesla is a fascinating company, but one that investors should watch from the sidewalk -- at least for now.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

May 10, 2013 11:48AM
Unless of course you already own it.  We get to do the happy dance!
May 10, 2013 1:43PM

I'm not happy, having to pay the tax credit welfare for each sold.


Where's my thank you for helping someone buy a six figure car?


Does the trunk come loaded with foodstamps?


138,000,000 filed, half of which pay income tax 69,000,000 taxpayers


7500*21000 =

$157,500,000 of welfare for a near six figure car!!!!


157,500,000/69,000,000 = $2.28 each tax payer pays to buy these cars.

May 10, 2013 2:21PM
Musk is amazing.! Though the company stock will definitely crash because it is trading way to high. Everything this guy touches turns to gold it seems. Telsa has a pretty good business plan and in 5 years, the plan is to have perfected the technology and manufacturing enough to offer sub 30k cars which everday buyers can afford..
May 10, 2013 3:56PM
Of course it had a good day,....finally the New York newspapers couldn't keep lieing about Tesla, they got caught with their pants down and Consumer Reports (somebody meaningful) finally told the TRUTH about Tesla, something the Times, Post and others wouldn't do.  And the folks out of Michigan do NOT like that.
May 10, 2013 4:51PM

QUOTE:  "Tesla is a fascinating company, but one that investors should watch from the sidewalk -- at least for now."


People WALK on the sidewalk.  If you want to ride you have to 'get out there' and hail a cab.

May 10, 2013 2:55PM
tesla is awesome!  I cant wait to pick up a used one someday!  and how important is the P/E ratio when this report is from the first quarter that the company is in the black?  you haters are idiots.   anyone who doesn't respect a car with 100% torque available at 1 RPM needs to open their eyes.  Next your going to tell me that Elon is a Kenyan socialist Muslim.   This is no bubble folks, this is a cutting edge brick and mortar company making revolutionary products that people want!  just wait till they get some economies of scale going and the less expensive, mass consumer models debut! 
May 10, 2013 1:57PM
So, you're OK with giving Exxon billions in taxes for research, but not a few million to Tesla - WHO PAID IT BACK!!! And Benghzi?  Really?  That is such a non-issue, its ridculous - just shows how naive you are that you can be so manipulated by Issa and his crowd!
May 11, 2013 2:05PM

hmmm let's see now, consumer reports is giving a car a high grade without any reliability data?? on a  car, or should I say 'electric tinker toy' that only the RICH, (there's that word liberals hate so much again), can afford?? interesting, actually no, since consumer reports might as well be called the leftist chronicles, I mean you have to ask yourself how Fisker is going down the tubes and Tesla isn't?? amazing what you can get if you pay off certain consumer reports magazines huh


meanwhile 4 Americans are STLL VERY MUCH! dead and ABC of all stations (even osama worshippers have to admit the truth now) reports the lies that osama and hillary and rice have perpetuated for 8plus months now, in a sane world these whackjobs would've been held for HIGH TREASON and osama would've stepped down as pres, in fact this scandal is the end of his presidency in all reality, gotta wonder how that bastard is going to go to his azzkiss fests and everyone knows what a lying pig him and his cronies are,


 Americans die in a Godforsaken part of the world and this whackjob lefty loony pres is off to Vegas for a fund raiser while the Ambassador is killed and SODOMIZED!! by those muslim animals!! 3 seal team members defy stand-down orders to help and die in the process, while that bastard osama is playing golf, nobody knows where he was for 8 fcukin' hours!!! we live in upside down inside out insane times!!!


 man what a horrible time it is to be in the military when your commander n chief leaves you behind to die, damn horrible time indeed. oh and you leftist Stalinist liberal dirtbag freaks must be so proud of your messiah right 'bout now huh? naturally....

May 10, 2013 2:08PM
Mark my word. Tesla won't even be around in ten years. Big tax payer ripoff.
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