Tesla Model S Plaid Deliveries Start In First Gear; S&P 500 Hits High; Google, RH In Buy Zones| Investor’s Business Daily


Dow Jones futures rose slightly Friday morning, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures. The stock market rally on Thursday shrugged off a hot inflation report, with the S&P 500 index hitting a record high and Treasury yields fresh lows.




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A bipartisan group of senators announced an infrastructure deal late, but will party leaders back it? Tesla CEO Elon Musk held a low-key, no-surprise Model S Plaid event Thursday night, announcing that deliveries will start with a slow ramp up.  Tesla stock rose slightly early Friday after reclaiming a key level Thursday.

In Thursday’s session, several stocks broke out or flashed buy signals, including RH (RH), Signet Jewelers (SIG), Zscaler (ZS), CrowdStrike (CRWD), Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) and Adobe (ADBE).

Meme stocks sold off Thursday, including GameStop (GME), AMC Entertainment (AMC), Clover Health (CLOV), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) and Workhorse Group (WKHS).

Some bounced back somewhat, including GME stock and AMC.


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Homebuilders fell sharply, including Century Communities (CCS), LGI Homes (LGIH) and D.R. Horton (DHI). That continues their weak performance despite sliding Treasury yields.

Several hot stocks sold off as share offerings priced, after the sale plans knocked them earlier this week. Those include Celsius (CELH), PLBY Group (PLBY) and Rev Group (REVG). All three lost 15% or more. CELH stock has a clearly failed breakout while PLBY stock wiped out an early entry. REVG stock broke below the low of a base.

Adobe and Google stock are on IBD Leaderboard and Long-Term Leaders. Google, CELH stock and CRWD stock are on IBD 50.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal?

A bipartisan group of 10 senators — five from each party — say they’ve reached a “tentative understanding” on an infrastructure spending deal without explicit tax increases. The package reportedly includes $579 billion in additional spending. Including baseline outlays, spending would be $974 billion over five years or $1.2 trillion over eight. The senators suggest indexing the gas tax to inflation, providing a de facto increase, and using unused Covid funds.

But it’s unclear if President Biden or congressional leaders from either party will go back it.

Dow Jones Futures Today

Dow Jones futures rose 0.25% vs. fair value. S&P 500 futures climbed 0.15% and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.15%.

The 10-year Treasury yield kept sliding, dipping two basis points to 1.44% after hitting 1.43% overnight.

Copper futures rose 2%, a positive sign for various mining stocks.

Remember that overnight action in Dow futures and elsewhere doesn’t necessarily translate into actual trading in the next regular stock market session.


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Stock Market Rally

The stock market rally rallied at Thursday’s open but then pulled back in late morning, with the Nasdaq briefly turning negative. But the major indexes rebounded.

The 10-year Treasury yield initially rose modestly on the hot inflation report, but reversed lower to 1.46%, setting new three-month lows. Bond traders do not appear concerned with inflation or the Federal Reserve, which meets next week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 0.1% in Thursday’s stock market trading, with Apple (AAPL) and Caterpillar (CAT) weighing on blue chips. The S&P 500 index climbed 0.5%. The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.8%. The small-cap Russell 2000 retreated 0.8%.

Among the best ETFs, the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) retreated 1.7% due to some sharp individual losers. The Innovator IBD Breakout Opportunities ETF (BOUT) rose 0.5%. The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) gained 1.8%. ADBE stock is the No. 1 component in IGV, which also owns CRWD and ZS stock. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) rose 1.3%.

SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) dipped 0.4% and Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development ETF (PAVE) slid 1%. U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) also fell 1%. SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) retreated 1.1%, with the ETF losses minimized because RH stock is the No. 1 component.

Reflecting more-speculative story stocks, ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) popped 1.9% and ARK Genomics ETF (ARKG) 2.7%. ARKK closed just below its 50-day and 200-day lines, while ARKG reclaimed those levels on Wednesday. Tesla stock is the No. 1 holding for ARK Invest across its ETFs.


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Tesla Model S Plaid Event

Tesla (TSLA) finally held its Model S Plaid event Thursday night, touting the revamped luxury electric sedan.

The Model S Plaid can go from a rolling start to 60 miles per hour in just under two seconds. But Plaid deliveries will take a lot longer to pick up.

At the end of the brief event, Elon Musk said Tesla will begin deliveries of 25 Plaid sedans “now.” He said that’ll soon pick up to hundreds per week, reaching 1,000 per week in the third quarter.

The EV giant paused Tesla Model S and X production for months as it switched over to “Plaid” versions. Elon Musk originally said in late January that Model S Plaid deliveries would begin in February.

The Model S Plaid looks very similar to the decade-old Model S on the outside. But the interior has been refreshed somewhat. Elon Musk touted the new screens and sound system, as well as the Plaid’s video game capabilities.

On Wednesday, Tesla raised the price of its high-end Plaid by $10,000 to $129,990. But that top-of-the-line Plaid won’t hit 200 mph, as previously claimed, until the right tire and wheel mix is available in the fall.

On Sunday, Musk canceled the Plaid Plus, saying the Plaid is “so good.” The Plaid Plus, which was priced well above the Plaid, was supposed to have a range topping 500 miles.

The Model S Plaid Plus cancellation could reflect further trouble with mass producing 4680 battery cells. If so, that would be a bad sign for the Tesla Semi and Cybertruck, both of which are slated to use the 4680 cells.

The Plaid event had no surprises about batteries, the Cybertruck or any other Tesla vehicle or project.

Tesla stock climbed slightly in premarket trade.

On Thursday, Tesla stock popped 1.9% to 610.12, reclaiming its 200-day line. TSLA stock remains below its sliding 50-day line.

RH Stock

RH stock surged 16% to 707.14, rebounding from its 50-day line and breaking a trend line. The upscale furniture retailer reported booming earnings and revenue growth, guiding higher on sales and margins. RH stock is 8.1% above its 10-week line, so it’s actionable here. But investors could wait to see if it forms a handle. RH stock is on track to have a base with a 733.15 buy point after Friday.

Signet Stock

Signet stock vaulted from its 50-day line to a record high, clearing a flat base with a buy point of 68.39/68.46. Shares hit an intraday high of 74.80 but then slashed gains before rebounding somewhat. Signet stock closed up 14% to 69.58.

The relative strength line for SIG stock hit a new high. The RS line, the blue line in the charts provided, tracks a stock’s performance vs. the S&P 500 index.

Zscaler Stock

Zscaler stock popped 4.55% to 204.91, moving above a double-bottom buy point of 199.60, after hitting resistance multiple times at just below 200. The last time was on May 26, following strong Zscaler earnings. ZS stock broke a tiny trend line earlier in the week.

The RS line for Zscaler stock is off the February peak but is at a three-month high.

CrowdStrike Stock

CrowdStrike, another cybersecurity play with a similar chart to ZS, jumped 6.85% to 228.60, breaking past resistance right around 227. CRWD stock was actionable from a short trend line break; again, much like ZS stock. The official buy for CRWD stock is 251.38.

Adobe Stock

Adobe stock rose just over 4% to 535.52, a record close and clearing a 525.54 early entry in a nine-month consolidation. ADBE stock is 5.8% above its 10-week line, which can be an attractive buying area for Long-Term Leaders. But, Adobe earnings are due June 17, giving new investors little time build a cushion in ADBE stock.

The RS line for Adobe stock is trending higher again, but has fallen significantly since last September.

Google Stock

Google stock edged up 1.1% to 2,435.13, edging past a 2,431.48 buy point from a flat base. The RS line hit a record high along with GOOGL stock, giving the weekly MarketSmith chart a very bullish blue dot.

GME Stock

GME stock plunged 27% to 220.39. GameStop stock is now down 11% for the week despite rising in the prior three sessions.

Late Wednesday, GameStop topped earnings views and named two Amazon execs to be its CEO and CFO. But it also said it might sell 5 million shares of GME stock, at a time when investors are punishing stock offerings. GameStop also disclosed an SEC probe related to trading in the stock.

Executives also again didn’t take questions in a brief GameStop earnings call.

Other Meme Stocks

Clovis Health slumped 15% to 14.34 after reversing from record highs Wednesday to close down 24%. While CLOV stock hasn’t erased Tuesday’s 86% gap-up surge, it has fallen below that day’s low. So anyone who actually bought CLOV stock on Tuesday is now down.

AMC stock skidded 13% to 42.81. Since the wild June 2 gap up, AMC stock has remained within that day’s trading range.

WKHS stock slid 11%. BBBY stock fell 8%.

Most investors should avoid meme stocks. The wild moves offer the potential for huge gains but also massive losses. Given the weak fundamentals and often-poor company prospects, most of these stocks are likely to see huge declines over time.

But if you’re going to play meme stocks, buy them as they clear some plausible resistance on a chart. Do not chase them. Consider using options so you can size your potential loss up front. Consider at least partial profits quickly and be ready to cash out before seeing a massive gain turn into a loss.

Market Rally Analysis

The S&P 500 index finally moved above its early May peak to an all-time high, despite the late morning wobble. The Dow Jones and Nasdaq are closing in on record territory. The Russell 2000 is pulling back but after a strong run.

However, the S&P 500 has been nudging higher, not showing real power in the past couple of weeks. Tracking volume on the major indexes is tricky when meme stocks are in play, with CLOV stock trading more than 700 million shares on Tuesday.

But new buying opportunities continue to appear, as RH, Zscaler and even Adobe stock show. Some stocks rebounded bullishly from early losses, including Roblox (RBLX). Miners and many other stocks are quietly forming positive consolidations.

Chip-gear makers and many medicals had solid sessions.

But it’s still a tricky stock market rally.

Homebuilders are breaking down despite falling Treasury yields. Financials are struggling. After opening higher as the 10-year yield nudged up, they retreated once again as interest rates hit fresh lows.

The brutal sell-offs in CELH stock and others announcing and pricing share offerings is something to note. Sometimes, stocks quickly shake off share offering news, but not always. With a lot of new IPOs in recent months, investors have to be ready for share offerings and lock up expirations.


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What To Do Now

Buying as close to the buy point as possible, at least with your initial position, is crucial in the current market environment. As a stock gets extended, don’t chase it.

To avoid missing out, do your homework. Build up those watchlists, taking a closer look at a select handful of nearly actionable stocks. Stay engaged with the market, using alerts when possible to catch breakouts as they’re happening. That way, you can buy the right stocks at the right time.

Even if you do everything right, some of your buys are going to struggle or fail. The key is to keep those losses small.

Read The Big Picture every day to stay in sync with the market direction and leading stocks and sectors.

Please follow Ed Carson on Twitter at @IBD_ECarson for stock market updates and more.

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EU suing AstraZeneca over delayed COVID-19 deliveries


The European Union’s executive branch said Monday that it has launched legal action against coronavirus vaccine-maker AstraZeneca for failing to respect the terms of its contract with the 27-nation bloc.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been central to Europe’s immunization campaign and a linchpin in the global strategy to get vaccines to poorer countries. But the slow pace of deliveries has frustrated the Europeans and they have held the company responsible for partly delaying their vaccine rollout.

European Commission spokesperson Stefan De Keersmaecker said that Brussels launched the legal action against AstraZeneca last Friday “on the basis of breaches of the advance purchase agreement.”

He said the reason for the legal action was that “some terms of the contract have not been respected” and that “the company has not been in a position to come up with a reliable strategy to ensure a timely delivery of doses.”

AstraZeneca’s contract with the EU, which was signed by the Commission on behalf of the member countries last August, foresaw an initial 300 million doses for distribution among member countries, with an option for a further 100 million.

The British-Swedish drugmaker had hoped to deliver 80 million doses in the first quarter of 2021, but only 30 million were sent. According to the Commission, the company is now set to provide 70 million doses in the second quarter, rather than the 180 million it had promised.

Company will ‘strongly defend’ itself in court

AstraZeneca said in a statement that it “regrets” the Commission’s decision to take legal action and that it will “strongly defend” itself in court.

“We believe any litigation is without merit and we welcome this opportunity to resolve this dispute as soon as possible,” AstraZeneca said. It said deliveries are improving “following an unprecedented year of scientific discovery, very complex negotiations and manufacturing challenges.”

“We are making progress addressing the technical challenges and our output is improving, but the production cycle of a vaccine is very long, which means these improvements take time to result in increased finished vaccine doses,” it said.

The company said it wants to continue “working constructively with the EU Commission to vaccinate as many people as possible. Many thousands of our employees working around the clock have been driven by a passion to help the world at no profit.”

The AstraZeneca vaccine is cheaper and easier to use than rival shots from Pfizer and Moderna and has been endorsed for use in over 50 countries, including by the 27-nation EU and the World Health Organization. U.S. authorities are still evaluating the vaccine.

The Commission has publicly criticized the company on several occasions, and last month it launched a dispute resolution mechanism aimed at amicably addressing their differences. Brussels said that its focus is to ensure timely deliveries of vaccines.

It has since said that its option for extra AstraZeneca doses will not be taken up.

Last week, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that a new vaccine contract is set to be concluded with BioNTech-Pfizer for 1.8 billion doses for the 2021-23 period. She said the deal will ensure doses for booster shots, vaccines adapted to new variants and, potentially, vaccines for children and teenagers.

Von der Leyen said that the EU, home to around 450 million people, has “already passed 123 million vaccinations” and is on track to have vaccinated 70 per cent of all adults by July. Previously, the target had been September.

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UK accused of ‘blackmail’ over vaccine deliveries to EU



France’s foreign minister has accused Britain of “blackmail” against the European Union over COVID-19 vaccine deliveries, saying the UK was under pressure because it lacked doses for second vaccine shots.

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Coronavirus latest: White House says vaccine deliveries have tripled to 27m a week


More than 5m Mexicans have dropped out of school because of Covid-19, a heavy toll in a country badly lagging behind its peers in education quality even before the pandemic struck. Statistics agency Inegi found 5.2m people between the ages of 3 and 29 did not enrol for the 2020-21 school year because of Covid-19 or lack of resources. 

More than one-quarter of Americans have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, data published on Tuesday showed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of people with one or more shots rose to 83.9m people, equal to 25.3 per cent of the overall population.

Coronavirus will be around for the “foreseeable future”, England’s chief medical officer said on Tuesday. Chris Whitty said that the chances of eradicating coronavirus were “close to zero”, arguing that while it may be possible to bring infection levels down to manageable levels, the virus was “not going away”.

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor is facing curbs to production from April as a chronic shortage of chips in the automotive industry hits a group that has to date been one of the most resilient. Hyundai and its affiliate Kia, which together rank as the world’s fifth-largest carmaker, have already begun cutting output of less popular models.

A window washer works on the Manulife headquarters in Toronto © Bloomberg

Insurance policyholders who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 are to be offered gift cards, hotel discounts and other perks under plans from Canada’s Manulife to encourage take-up of the jabs. Canadians who are signed up to the Manulife Vitality programme will be eligible for 400 “Vitality points” with proof they have received a vaccine.

Pfizer has begun an early-stage clinical trial of an oral drug to treat coronavirus at the first sign of infection. Mikael Dolsten, chief scientific officer at Pfizer, said the antiviral treatment had “demonstrated potent” activity against Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, as well as other coronaviruses.

The European Commission is set to clear EssilorLuxottica’s €7bn acquisition of GrandVision, one of the largest mergers under review, which faced delays when the pandemic forced opticians to close. The approval of the deal is subject to EssilorLuxottica’s sale of retail operations in Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands.

German biotech company CureVac said that a preclinical study on mice suggested its coronavirus vaccine candidate may be effective against the more infectious B.1.351, commonly known as the South African variant. Mice given the vaccine were immunised from the original Sars-CoV-2 virus as well as the strain identified in South Africa.

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Haulier swaps the high road for burgeoning home deliveries after family farm shop purchase


A former haulier-turned-shopkeeper has stepped into the driving seat of a long-established rural retail outlet after securing funds to fuel his entrepreneurial aspirations.

Michael Fisher parked a career as a long-distance driver when his father-in-law John Money decided to hang his apron at the popular Stallingborough Farm Shop.

And the 30-year-old business is now increasing its presence on the road, having bought three vans to expand a burgeoning home delivery service.

Nine new staff members have also been hired to meet demand for fresh fruit, veg, meats and flowers.

He said: “I always like the idea of running my own business and when the opportunity arose to secure the future of the business and give my father-in-law a long and well-deserved retirement plan, it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

“I knew from the outset that running my own business would be a challenging and exciting journey, but when we signed on the dotted line, little did we appreciate just how much and how quickly the business would need to adapt as a result of Covid-19.”

Funds initially stopped the dream, with a need to purchase the business and stock. After exploring different ways of raising money needed, a friend suggested Finance For Enterprise – a delivery partner of British Business Bank-backed Start Up Loans UK.



Michael and Maria Fisher at Stallingborough Farm Shop.

He discussed his plans with Grimsby-based investment manager Jane Cusse who helped Mr Fisher and his wife Maria to secure £40,000 through two start-up loans, topped up by funds provided direct. “The financial support we received helped us to manage our cashflow, particularly during our first few months of trading when we didn’t know how lockdown would affect the business,” he said.

“The Farm Shop had always offered a home delivery service, but the funds we were able to secure from Finance For Enterprise enabled us to continue trading by delivering the fresh produce to the doors of our customers and as a result, we’ve managed to grow the business and create new jobs, something I feel incredibly proud to have achieved.

“Jane was amazing, she took the stress and worry away and kept us regularly updated through the application process.”

A willingness to go ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty has seen the company receive rave reviews from its growing numbers of customers, with plans afoot to further expand the delivery fleet.

Jane said: “The retail sector has been particularly hard hit during the Covid pandemic, Michael and Maria spotted an opportunity to build and diversify their new business and they seized the opportunity.

“After spending time reviewing their business plans I put together a lending package which enabled them to not only acquire the existing company, but one which would help them to put their own mark on the business.

“Despite working in a challenging business climate, Michael and Maria’s hard work has really paid off and the amount of positive feedback they’ve received from their customers is a testament to their dedication and hard work. The Farm Shop is something of an institution in the Grimsby area and it’s great to see that its future is in safe hands.

“Accessing finance is one of the greatest challenges that many new business owners face, but the Start Up Loans scheme was specifically created to support new entrepreneurs. Michael and Maria presented a well thought out business plan, backed by forecasts based on the historical performance of the business and under their leadership the business has gone from strength-to-strength.”

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Amazon buys 11 aircraft to make deliveries faster





FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is pictured inside the company’s office in Bengaluru, India, April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

January 5, 2021

(Reuters) -Amazon.com Inc said on Tuesday it bought 11 Boeing 767-300 aircraft, as it looks to boost its delivery capabilities to cater to a surge in online orders.

The aircraft, including seven from Delta Air Lines and four from WestJet Airlines, will join Amazon’s air cargo network by 2022, the online retailer said in a statement https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/transportation/amazon-purchases-11-aircraft-from-delta-and-westjet-to-join-amazon-airs-network.

In June, Amazon had leased 12 Boeing 767-300 converted cargo aircraft from Air Transport Services Group Inc, bringing its total fleet to more than 80. (https://reut.rs/2MCkYHl)

“Having a mix of both leased and owned aircraft in our growing fleet allows us to better manage our operations,” said Sarah Rhoads, vice president of Amazon Global Air.

The company said in October its heightened spending on delivery infrastructure would likely continue over years.

(Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)




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France and UK work to unlock border as postal deliveries abroad cut and lorries stranded over new Covid-19 mutation — RT UK News



Royal Mail has stopped delivering to several countries that have imposed travel bans on Britain, as the UK tries to clear a backlog of lorries held at the port of Dover, blocked from travelling to Europe amid a new Covid strain.

Britain’s postal service said on Monday that France, Turkey, Canada and other nations had been added to its “on suspension” list, as more than 40 countries worldwide have closed their borders to the UK.

It comes as Boris Johnson said on Monday that the UK is now working with France in order to clear the mostly-European lorry drivers that remain stranded at the port of Dover after the French government shut its borders for 48 hours.

During a Downing Street news briefing the prime minister pledged to clear the backlog, including some 170 HGVs waiting on the M20 motorway, “in the next few hours” after a telephone call with French President Emmanuel Macron.



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‘Project Fear’ is here: Perfect storm of the new Covid variant and looming Brexit deadline exposes Boris the buffoon’s empty hand


“Everyone can shop normally,” Johnson added in a bid to dispel fears that food and medicine supplies would dry up amid the travel shutdown, with some reports of panic buying in British supermarkets on Monday. 

Countries across the world have closed their borders to Britain over the discovery of the VUI-2020/01 strain of Covid-19, which has spread across the country but is especially prevalent in London, the south-east and in eastern England.

Cases of the new variant, which early data suggests is up to 70 percent more transmissible, have also reportedly been discovered in other countries, including Italy, Denmark and Australia.



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Top German virologist casts doubt on fears of new ‘highly contagious’ UK Covid-19 strain


The UK government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance said at the news briefing that the new strain’s rapid spread might mean that more areas of the country will have to be placed into the toughest Tier 4 coronavirus measures.

“I think it is likely that this will grow in numbers of the variant across the country and I think it’s likely, therefore, that measures will need to be increased in some places, in due course, not reduced,” he said.

On Monday the UK reported a further 33,364 positive coronavirus cases and another 215 fatalities, taking the total death toll to 67,616.

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Tesla blows away estimates as deliveries ramp up, targeting 500K by year’s end amid coronavirus


Tesla (TSLA) reported third-quarter sales and profit that topped expectations, as the company doubled down on its guidance to achieve a record 500,000 vehicle deliveries in 2020 in the face of a global economy still weighed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Shares soared by over 4% in after-hours trading, adding to a stock run-up of more than 400% for the year to date through Wednesday’s close.

Here were the main results from Tesla’s earnings report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:

Ahead of its third-quarter earnings results, Tesla reported earlier this month that it had handed over a record 139,300 vehicles during the three months to September, for an increase of more than 40% over last year. Investors had been homing in to see whether the company still planned to hit a half-million deliveries for the full year.

Still, in order to meet that goal, the company would need to deliver more than 180,000 vehicles in the fourth quarter in an economy still stricken by the virus. On Wednesday, Tesla reiterated ithat it has the capacity installed to produce and deliver 500,000 vehicles this year.

“While achieving this goal has become more difficult, delivering half a million vehicles in 2020 remains our target,” the company said. “Achieving this target depends primarily on quarter over quarter increases in Model Y and Shanghai production, as well as further improvements in logistics and delivery efficiency at higher volume levels.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk gets back into his Tesla after talking to media before visiting the construction site of the future US electric car giant Tesla, on September 03, 2020 in Gruenheide near Berlin. – Tesla builds a compound at the site in Gruenheide in Brandenburg for its first European “Gigafactory” near Berlin. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

The more affordable Model 3, and newer Model Y, comprised the bulk of the deliveries and all of the growth during the third quarter, while higher-priced Model S and X deliveries declined by more than 12% over last year.

Tesla, however, has been steadily slashing prices especially on its higher-end models in a move that may serve to stoke demand. Last week, it cut the starting price of the Model S twice to $69,420.

The car maker has also been ramping up production and deliveries out of its Shanghai Gigafactory, which has given the company a valuable hub in the world’s largest market for electric vehicles. And auto sales overall in China have rebounded strongly off the lows of its coronavirus lockdown, with sales climbing nearly 13% for a sixth straight monthly gain in September.

Tesla doesn’t break out vehicle deliveries by region, but analyst Dan Ives of WedBush pointed to Model 3 demand out of China as a “linchpin to the global Tesla demand picture,” according to a note this week. Tesla said Wednesday that its Model 3 production capacity had increased to 250,000 units per year, from the 150,000 annual run-rate it targeted initially after the factory first came online in December last year.

The California-based company also broke ground at its second overseas factory in Berlin earlier this year. There, construction “continues to progress rapidly,” the company said in its earnings report, and production is expected to start in 2021.

Tesla’s third-quarter results also come just weeks following the company’s inaugural “Battery Day” in late September. There, CEO Elon Musk laid out a path for the company to begin manufacturing its own “tabless” batteries to improve the cars’ range and power, and eventually help the company launch a $25,000 vehicle.

This post is breaking. Check back for updates.

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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Australia Post may be forced into early return to daily deliveries


Labor and the Greens failed at an attempt to reverse the regulatory changes in the Senate, however Liberal backbencher Concetta Fierravanti-Wells has expressed concern and will again attempt to force changes when sittings resume.

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Mr Fletcher said at the time the new standards would give Australia Post the “flexibility to respond to the increased demand for parcels”, but there are reports of major backlogs in parcel delivery and delays with deliveries surrounding Father’s Day last month, and the postal service this week warned Australians to allow up to six weeks for deliveries ahead of Christmas.

Australia Post invited its Melbourne-based staff to volunteer their weekends or mid-week to help clear backlogs at its Victorian facilities using their own vehicles to help deliver parcels.

Staff were asked to declare they were able to carry and lift up to 16kg of mail and parcels repeatedly through the day.

Australia Post’s profits have soared during the pandemic as it benefit from an eCommerce boom fuelled by the pandemic.

Revenue rose a record 7 per cent in the 2019-20 financial year, up more than $500 million to nearly $7.5 billion.

It has increased scrutiny on managing director Christine Holgate’s performance despite her decision to take a pay cut and forgo bonuses for the recent financial year.

Australia Post confirmed it paid almost $120,000 for a reputation management consultant as the organisation attempted to defend the changes to delivery times.

In a written statement to the Senate this week, Australia Post said it had advised Mr Fletcher of its decision to engage PR guru Ross Thornton. The contract equated to about $3000-a-day.

A spokeswoman for Mr Fletcher said all questions regarding the hiring of consultants were a matter for the Australia Post board and “should be directed to Australia Post”.

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Australia Post said on Monday the company, Domestique, was still engaged but not on an ongoing retainer, and “provided advice on an ad hoc basis”.

It has told customers via emails and on its website this week it is doing “everything we can” to keep delivering during the pandemic.

“Ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic mean there are still some delays as our business operates with additional safety measures to protect our people and customers,” the company said on its website.

“We’re also still experiencing reduced domestic and international flights, while processing unprecedented parcel volumes. The majority of parcels are arriving on time.”

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Australia Post hired $3000-a-day reputation manager as it wound back deliveries


It followed an announcement that Labor and the Greens would seek to overturn temporary regulatory powers granted to Australia Post by the Morrison government to allow letters to be delivered in metropolitan areas every second day, rather than every day, remove the priority mail product and extend delivery time for intrastate letters to five days.

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Australia Post said on Monday that Domestique was still engaged but not on an ongoing retainer, and “provided advice on an ad hoc basis”.

The nation’s mail delivery service has provided the information to a Senate committee in response to a series of questions regarding its financial management but has refused to break down how much of its money was spent.

Australia Post’s admission comes amid the organisation’s warnings that Australians should prepare to post their Christmas parcels up to six weeks in advance to ensure gifts arrive in time as it deals with massive backlogs at delivery centres.

Ms Holgate and some of Australia Post’s senior executives are set to be grilled at Senate estimates next week following a string of scandals surrounding personal bonuses payments, intervention over One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s unsolicited mailout of stubby holders to public housing residents and massive delays to services.

Labor government accountability spokeswoman Kimberley Kitching said Ms Holgate brought in Mr Thornton to defend the indefensible.

“He’s being paid $3000 a day. Mr Thornton is lucky there’s electronic transfer of funds – otherwise if the cheque was in the mail from Australia Post, he’d know he’d be waiting quite a while,” she said.

Australia Post also declared Ms Holgate’s personal corporate credit card bill for the past financial year totalled $29,298, which was used for gifts, meals and travel expenses among other expenses. But a second card issued for Ms Holgate’s office, which employs two people, totalled $287,063.44 for the same timeframe.

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It said providing an itemised breakdown of the charges would be an “unreasonable diversion of resources” but purchases broadly included flowers, gifts, meals, travel, venue hire, magazines and professional services.

“Australia Post’s Melbourne headquarters have been closed for several months, due to the COVID-19 lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne,” it said.

“As a result, Melbourne office staff have been working remotely and access to some records has been restricted. This has impacted on the retrieval and review of records.”

The organisation also admitted Ms Holgate used a chauffeur-driven car service for work-related transport including between the office, the airport, accommodation, meeting locations and home.

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“These services allow [Ms Holgate] … to travel safely and securely – often at early or late hours – and provide a confidential environment in which to work on Australia Post matters while in transit,” it said.

Ms Holgate and her senior legal counsel were lashed by a bipartisan parliamentary committee in August for attempting to avoid scrutiny over the future of service delivery and urged to complete basic training in accountability to meet their responsibilities to taxpayers.

A damning report found some responses provided by Australia Post to senators’ questions failed to grasp the responsibility of a publicly owned entity to be accountable to “the people of Australia through the Parliament and its committee system”.

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