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Why Tesla’s Earnings Look Good to Investors

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) reported second-quarter 2017 earnings after markets closed on Wednesday. For the quarter, the electric car maker posted an adjusted diluted loss per share loss of $1.33 on revenues of $2.79 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported adjusted a net loss of $1.61 on revenues of $1.27 billion. Second-quarter results compare to consensus estimates calling for a per share loss of $1.80 and $2.55 billion in revenues.

The near-doubling of automotive revenues, from $1.18 billion in the second quarter of last year, to $2.29 billion this year was the result of 53% more deliveries and fewer vehicles sold with residual risk from leases. Sequentially revenues were flat, but vehicles subject to lease accounting fell from 26% to 19% of sales.

The carmaker had already announced that it delivered slightly more than 22,000 vehicles in the quarter. Another 3,500 vehicles were in transit to customers and won’t be counted as delivered until the third quarter. All told, Tesla said it produced 25,708 vehicles in the second quarter. For the first half of the year Tesla has delivered 47,777 new Model S and Model X vehicles.

Following last week’s first deliveries of the new Model 3, Tesla said that orders for the new, moderately priced ($35,000 base) sedan have been rolling in at the rate of about 1,800 a day. The company is “confident” that it can build 1,500 Model 3s in the third quarter and reach a production rate of 20,000 a month by the end of the year. Production will ramp to 10,000 a week (40,000 a month or nearly 500,000 a year) “at some point in 2018.”

In its outlook statement, Tesla said it expects an increase in deliveries of Model S and Model X vehicles in the second half of the year. Combined non-GAAP gross margin for Model S and Model X in the third quarter will decline slightly from the second quarter total of 25%, driven primarily by mix shift. The company expects Model 3 non-GAAP gross margin to be positive in the fourth quarter.

The company expects strong improvement in operating leverage as revenue is expected to increase significantly in the second half of the year as compared to the first half, while operating expenses should remain essentially flat. Capital expenditures should be about $2 billion during the second half of 2017, as the company makes milestone-based payments for Model 3 equipment, continues with Gigafactory 1 construction, and expands its Supercharger, store, delivery hub, and service networks.

Tesla’s shares traded up about 3.7% at $338.00 in Wednesday’s after-hours session after closing at $325.89. The stock’s 52-week range is $178.19 to $386.99. The 12-month price target for the shares was $303.39 before the report with the highest target set at a whopping $464.00.