Speaking on a Tesla earnings call on Wednesday, founder Elon Musk ramped up his rhetoric about shelter-in-place orders around the nation, calling them “fascist.” Stock in Tesla jumped on Thursday, initially rising as much as 8.7%, then settling in at a rise of 4.6% later in the day, possibly due to Tesla announcing better-than-expected adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter.
Musk stated on Wednesday, according to The Verge:
We are a bit worried about not being able to resume production in the Bay Area, and that should be identified as a serious risk. The expansion of shelter-in-place, or as we call it, forcibly imprisoning people in their homes, against all their constitutional rights, is, in my opinion, breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong, and not why people came to America and built this country. What the f***!
He continued, “If somebody wants to stay in the house that’s great. They should be allowed to stay in the house and they should not be compelled to leave. But to say that they cannot leave their house and they will be arrested if they do… this is fascist. This is not democratic. This is not freedom. Give people back their goddamn freedom … Everything people have worked for all their lives is being destroyed in real time. I think the people are going to be very angry about this and are very angry.”
Prior to his Wednesday remarks, on Tuesday night in one eleven-minute period Musk issued a series of tweets targeting the lockdowns around the country, stating. “Give people their freedom back!” in response to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece asking whether the lockdown policy saved lives; “Bravo Texas!” in response to the news that Texas was reopening for business, and finally, a bluntly stated, all-caps “FREE AMERICA NOW.”
The Verge noted, “Tesla’s primary factory is located in Fremont, California, and after initially attempting to fight county orders listing the car maker as non-essential, Musk ultimately did close down the facility alongside the company’s Buffalo solar panel plant. Although Musk kept the factory open for five days after the initial shelter-in-place order, Tesla defied the order once more last week by asking some Fremont factory employees to return to work.”
Yahoo Finance reported of the first-quarter earnings report:
Here were the main metrics expected from the report, compared to consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg:
- Adjusted earnings per share: $1.24 vs. loss of 37 cents per share expected and loss of $2.90 per share Y/Y
- Revenue: $5.99 billion vs. $5.81 billion expected and $4.54 billion Y/Y
- Free cash flow: -$895 million vs. -$604.4 million expected
The company stated, “In Q1, we reached our highest ever revenue for a seasonally slower first quarter as our total revenue grew 32% [year over year]. Sequentially, our revenue was mainly impacted by lower deliveries, driven primarily by limitations on our ability to deliver vehicles towards the end of the quarter.”
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