Tesla's adds $144bn to market value after record fourth-quarter deliveries

The value is the equivalent of an entire Honeywell International or Starbucks

Tesla electric cars at a delivery site in Manchester, England in September. AP

Tesla is off to a strong start to the new year after the electric-car maker smashed its quarterly record for deliveries in what one analyst called a “trophy-case” performance.

The company’s shares jumped 14 per cent in New York, their biggest gain since March and best start to a year since Tesla went public more than a decade ago. The $144 billion in market value that Tesla added on Monday is the equivalent of an entire Honeywell International or Starbucks. It’s also more than the value of almost 90 per cent of the companies in the S&P 500 Index.

Worldwide deliveries totalled 308,600 vehicles in the fourth quarter, well ahead of the average analyst estimate of roughly 263,000 vehicles, and topping the company’s previous record of 241,300 from the prior quarter. Annual handovers surged to more than 936,000 in 2021, up 87 per cent from the previous year’s level, Austin, Texas-based Tesla said on Sunday.

“This is a trophy-case quarter for Tesla as the company blew away even bull-case expectations,” Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said. He called it a “jaw-dropper performance” for the end of the year that gives “massive tailwinds” heading into 2022.

The record quarter underscores the “green tidal wave taking hold” for Tesla and chief executive Elon Musk, Mr Ives said in a note to clients. The results also point to robust demand in China and Tesla’s skill at navigating the global semiconductor shortage, he said.

Mr Musk, who has pledged delivery growth despite the “supply-chain nightmare” of 2021, praised his crew on Twitter.

Quarterly deliveries are one of the most closely watched indicators for Tesla. They underpin its financial results and are widely seen as a barometer of consumer demand for electric vehicles as a whole because the company has led the charge for battery-powered cars.

Tesla has said repeatedly it expects 50 per cent annual increases in deliveries over a multiyear period. The seventh consecutive quarterly gain comes amid a global semiconductor slump that has crimped production at most other car makers and kept sales in check despite rising demand.

“Tesla continues to execute well, posting deliveries and production above consensus expectations,” Cowen analyst Jeffrey Osborne said. “As the competition heats up from incumbent OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] and new entrants alike, we see 2022 becoming a critical year for Tesla.”

The EV market leader’s stock soared almost 50 per cent in 2021 to give it a market valuation exceeding $1 trillion – one of only a handful of US-based public companies to achieve that status.

The shares reached a record high in early November before plunging after Musk began unloading 10 per cent of his stake.

Updated: January 4th 2022, 11:05 AM