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Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Tesla Shares Top $1,000 Again on Musk’s Break-Even Optimism

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Tesla Shares Top $1,000 Again on Musk’s Break-Even Optimism

  • CEO sends latest email to rally staff at the end of a quarter
  • Profit on GAAP basis would make carmaker eligible for S&P 500
A Tesla Inc. badge is displayed on a Model X electric vehicle in San Ramon, California.
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Tesla Inc.’s stock price climbed back above $1,000 after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk suggested the electric-car maker may be able to avoid a second-quarter loss.

“Breaking even is looking super tight,” Musk wrote in an email to employees seen by Bloomberg and first reported by Electrek. “Really makes a difference for every car you build and deliver. Please go all out to ensure victory!”

Tesla shares surged 5.2% on Monday to close at $1,009.35. The stock has soared 141% this year, putting its market capitalization on course to rival Toyota Motor Corp., the most valuable automaker in the world by that measure.

After passing VW, Tesla gains on Toyota

Musk, 49, has routinely sent emails to rally the troops at the end of a quarter, though Tesla hasn’t always lived up to the expectations set by his internal memos. The company reported a then-record 97,000 deliveries for the three months that ended in September, falling short of the 100,000 mark he floated in an email to staff days earlier.

If Musk is on the mark this time, the carmaker could qualify for inclusion in the S&P 500 Index. To be eligible, the company needs to report positive quarterly earnings under generally accepted accounting principles.

While analysts on average project Tesla will lose almost $2 a share on a GAAP basis this quarter, higher-than-projected vehicle deliveries would make profitability a “less radical” idea, Dan Levy, a Credit Suisse analyst, wrote in a report Monday. In addition to underestimating volume, the company may be able to beat expectations by cutting expenses, boosting sales of regulatory credits and recognizing more revenue related to its automated-driving system.

“Expectations are high, yet it’s unclear to us how the stock will be challenged,” Levy wrote. “With an S&P add expected in 2020, it would be further support for the stock.”

(Updates with S&P 500 detail in the fifth paragraph.)