Tesla Motors Inc Bull Predicts Big Earnings Miss

Tesla Motors is scheduled to release its next earnings report on or around May 7, and analysts are starting to publish their preview reports. The EV manufacturer is expected to continue posting losses throughout this year as it ramps up production of its Model X crossover vehicle.

Tesla estimates all over the board

In a report today, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, who’s one of Tesla’s most outspoken bulls, said he predicts the company will post non-GAAP losses of 77 cents per share for the first quarter. If he’s right, that would be a big-time miss from the consensus estimate of losses of 48 cents per share.

Jayson Derrick of Benzinga reports that the consensus estimate from Estimize is actually earnings of 9 cents per share, indicating just how wildly estimates for Tesla’s earnings report vary. Estimize’s consensus estimate for revenue is $1.16 billion. The Street’s projection for Tesla suggests losses per share of 51 cents and $1.032 billion in revenue.

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For the full year, Jonas predicts losses of $2.30 per share, compared to the consensus estimate of 58 cents per share in earnings. For 2016, he’s looking for $1.40 per share in earnings, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.99 per share in earnings.

What else to expect in Tesla’s earnings call

The Morgan Stanley analyst expects Tesla’s gross margin to increase from 22.1% to 25% in the quarter. However, he believes the margin will fall off in the second half of this year as Tesla ramps production for the Model X.

Tesla management already announced that the automaker delivered about 10,030 cars during the quarter, beating their previously provided guidance. As a result, upside surprise from that beat should already be baked into Tesla’s share price. Interestingly, Jonas is also predicting that Tesla will miss its own full year guidance of 55,000 vehicle deliveries this year. His estimate is 51,000 deliveries.

Because Tesla is putting its next vehicle, the Model X, into production this year, investors can expect management to comment on how they’re executing the process. Management should hopefully provide details about the timing of the launch this year, how quickly they can ramp production and how much of an order backlog they have for the Model X.

Investors should also expect an update on the gigafactory, which is under construction in Nevada. Previously, management had said they were ahead of schedule.

Remaining bullish on Tesla

Even though Jonas is predicting a huge miss for Tesla, he remains very bullish on the EV manufacturer. He reiterated his Overweight rating and $280 per share price target on the company, which suggests upside of 35% from the current share price.

Shares of Tesla edged downward by as much as 1.89% to $205.82 per share after Jonas released his report.