Tesla on Thursday posted a record quarterly loss but renewed assurances of profitability — and CEO Elon Musk’s more subdued behavior in an earnings call — helped push its shares to their biggest percentage gain since December 2013.
For the second quarter, Tesla reported a loss of $718 million, or $4.22 per share, compared with a loss of $336 million, or $2.04 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted for stock-based compensation, the company lost $3.06 per share, worse than Wall Street estimates of a $2.88 loss per share.
Revenue rose to $4 billion from $2.77 billion a year ago, beating estimates of $3.99 billion.
Tesla has been spending heavily to reach its production goals for the crucial Model 3 sedan and has been promising a net profit in the third quarter. It is now aiming to produce 6,000 Model 3s per week by late August.
“A total vehicle output of 7,000 vehicles per week, or 350,000 per year, should enable Tesla to become sustainably profitable for the first time in our history,” the company said in its quarterly letter to investors.
Tesla burned through $739.5 million in cash last quarter, but operating cash flow improved from negative $784.6 million to negative $742.7 million. The company is now planning to trim 2018 capital spending to $2.5 billion, down from the originally planned $3.4 billion.
On news of the earnings, Tesla stock jumped 16.2% to $349.54, its highest close since June 28.
Musk added to the positive mood by apologizing to the two analysts he referred to as “boring” and “boneheaded” in the previous quarter.
“I would like to apologize for being impolite on the prior call,” he said in the earnings call. “Honestly, I think there is really no excuse for bad manners. I was kind of violating my own rule in that regard.”
KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Brad Erickson said Musk had “worked to restore some faith and credibility with investors that he can be a plus to the investment narrative, not a minus” and credited him with delivering “maybe the most valuable apology of all time.”