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July 26, 2021, 7:43 a.m. EDT

Tesla earnings preview: Semi truck, Cybertruck pickup and chip shortage in focus

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Claudia Assis

Tesla Inc.’s quarterly results will be a golden opportunity for Wall Street to get the lowdown on the Silicon Valley electric-car maker’s future vehicles, factories under construction, and lingering effects from chip and parts shortages and rising commodity prices.

Tesla /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +0.33% is scheduled to report second-quarter results after the bell on Monday. The EV maker plans to host a conference call at 5:30 p.m. Eastern that day to discuss results with investors and others.

Notably absent will be Jerome Guillen, the long-time Tesla executive who left in early June. Guillen, who spent more than a decade at the company, led Tesla’s efforts to get the Tesla Semi, the company’s commercial electric truck, off the factory floor.

Tesla said in April that sales of the Tesla Semi were on track to begin this year, and investors will want to know if that’s still on the table given Guillen’s departure, which merited an after-the-fact, two-sentence notice.

The company plans to build the Semi and the Cybertruck pickup at its newest plant being built in the Austin, Texas, area. Investors will wait for updates on these timelines as well as building progress for Texas plant and the one being built in Germany.

“Tesla shares have significantly underperformed the major OEMs such as (Ford Motor Co. /zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite F +1.12% ) and (General Motors Co. /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM -0.37% ) so far this year, which we think reflects the fact that 2021 has largely been a transition year for the company as investors await the startup of those two new factories, which should drive more material revenue and earnings growth starting next year,” CFRA analyst Garrett Nelson said.

Gene Munster of Loup Ventures said Wall Street is likely to zero in Tesla’s auto gross margins trends and the impact of component shortages.

“Investors will likely give the company a pass on margins given the component environment is tight,” he said.

Here’s what else to expect:

Earnings: The consensus estimate from 39 analysts polled by FactSet calls for Tesla to report adjusted earnings of 94 cents a share, which would compare with adjusted earnings of 44 cents a share in the year-ago period. GAAP earnings are seen at 55 cents a share.

Estimize, a crowdsourcing platform that gathers estimates from Wall Street analysts, as well as buy-side analysts, fund managers, company executives, academics and others, is expecting an adjusted profit of $1.01 a share.

Revenue: The analysts surveyed by FactSet expect sales of $11.53 billion for Tesla, up from $5.18 billion a year ago. Estimize sees revenue of $11.64 billion for the company.

Stock movement: Tesla shares have underperformed the broader market, down around 8% versus gains of more than 14% for the S&P 500 index. /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.91% In the past 12 months, however, the stock has nearly doubled, compared with an advance of around 33% for the S&P.

Tesla’s stock performance this year also compares with gains of 34% and 57% for Ford and GM shares.

What else to expect: Tesla angered some customers recently when it announced a change in the way it goes about some of its autonomous-driving products, calling for subscription plans rather than upfront fees for its Full Self Driving package, which is currently being tested. The subscription prices were higher than expected, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said.

FSD subscription “will be a focus, and getting a sense on how to think about the uptake. Its an important part of increasing Tesla’s margins long term,” said Munster. The way that Tesla markets FSD “has come under fire, and will likely be a topic.”

Related: Aurora to go public in SPAC deal, promises autonomous vehicle by 2023

Tesla has weathered the chips and parts shortages well, getting praise for it has handled the shortages so far.

Tesla earlier this month reported second-quarter sales and production numbers that heartened investors. Tesla has shied away from specific sales and production guidance, but investors will be keen on parsing out any indication that sales remain healthy.

Hand in hand with that is Tesla’s business in China, where demand concerns have mounted amid a recent recall, consumer criticism, and a growing number of domestic EVs as competition with Teslas.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs recently zeroed in on downloads of the Tesla app in China as an indicator of demand.

That data suggests “overall demand remains solid in China and is up meaningfully (year-on-year,)” the analysts, led by Mark Delaney, said in the recent note.

Tesla has used its Shanghai factory for exports, not just to supply the Chinese domestic market, which could help explain an 11% quarter-on-quarter drop in second-quarter sales in China, the Goldman Sachs analysts said.

“Tesla sold essentially every car it made in (the first half of 2021) globally … illustrating in our opinion that the company is supply not demand constrained.”

/zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 759.49
+2.50 +0.33%
Volume: 28.20M
Sept. 17, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
395.75
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$751.91 billion
Rev. per Employee
$445,694
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/zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 13.55
+0.15 +1.12%
Volume: 76.34M
Sept. 17, 2021 4:02p
P/E Ratio
15.64
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$54.13 billion
Rev. per Employee
$683,570
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/zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 51.33
-0.19 -0.37%
Volume: 45.12M
Sept. 17, 2021 4:00p
P/E Ratio
5.94
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$74.52 billion
Rev. per Employee
$790,226
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
4,432.99
-40.76 -0.91%
Volume: 3.79B
Sept. 17, 2021 5:25p
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