Tesla stock rallies after surprise quarterly profit

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Tesla Inc. shares rallied more than 10% late Wednesday after the Silicon Valley car maker reported a surprise quarterly profit.

Tesla TSLA, -0.35%  said it earned $143 million in the quarter, or 80 cents a share, compared with $311 million, or $1.82 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted for one-time items, Tesla earned $342 million, or $1.91 a share, compared with adjusted earnings of $3.02 a year ago.

Revenue fell to $6.30 billion from $6.82 billion in the year-ago period.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected an adjusted loss of 46 cents a share on sales of $6.43 billion for the quarter.

Investors had braced for a drop in sales despite an uptick for deliveries, mostly thanks to a mix of deliveries that skewed heavily toward the Model 3, Tesla’s cheapest vehicle.

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The company earlier this month reported third-quarter deliveries, its proxy for sales, that fell short of expectations. Tesla said it delivered about 97,000 vehicles in the third quarter, including 79,600 Model 3 sedans. The car maker delivered 84,000 vehicles in the third quarter of 2018, including about 56,000 Model 3s.

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For the year, Tesla has said it hopes to deliver 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles, which means it needs to deliver at least 105,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter to hit the lower end of that goal.

Tesla shares have lost about 23% this year, and 3% in the past 12 months. That contrasts with gains of 20% and 15% for the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.28%  and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.17%  this year, and advances of 9% and 6% for the indexes in the past 12 months.

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