Tesla results beat expectations, stock soars

Tesla Motors (TSLA), led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results on Wednesday and said deliveries of its Model S electric sedan would surge more than 55 percent this year.

Tesla shares were up 16 percent at $224.62 in extended trade late on Wednesday, a day after the stock pushed to an all-time high after the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Musk met with Apple's (AAPL) head of mergers and acquisitions in 2013.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, which was founded in 2003, earned $46 million, or 33 cents per share, excluding one-time items, during the fourth quarter. The average analyst estimate called for a per-share profit of 21 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

 

 Including items, Tesla reported a net loss of 13 cents a share. Its net loss narrowed to $16.2 million from $90 million a year ago.

Tesla expects to deliver more than 35,000 Model S vehicles in 2014, an increase of more than 55 percent from the 22,477 it delivered last year. In the first quarter, it will deliver about 6,400 of those cars.

Wedbush analyst Craig Irwin said the company's average selling prices were about 10 percent higher than expected during the quarter, and that investors were pleased with Tesla's stellar outlook for 2014.

"The cover is off the ball," he said.

The company said operating expenses and capital spending will increase significantly this year as it expands production capacity for both the Model S and Model X crossover vehicle, invests in stores and Supercharger infrastructure and finishes development of the Model X. It is also starting early design work on its third-generation vehicle.

Tesla said it expects to have Model X prototypes on the road by the end of the year and will begin deliveries to customers in the spring of next year.