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Why Tesla Shares Are Rising Even As Its Losses Widen

Tesla might be burning through $100 million a week right now and its losses have widened, but that isn’t scaring away investors.

Shares in the automaker popped more than 7% on Thursday, a day after Tesla reported second quarter earnings that saw revenue double and the net loss attributable to shareholder expand to $336.4 million from $293.2 million in the same period last year. Tesla shares have risen 54% in the past year.

At 12:30 pm ET, Tesla shares were trading at $348, about a 6.8% gain since the market opened.

Investors acknowledged the ever-expanding losses and the company’s cash burn rate, and yet many seemed heartened by CEO Elon Musk’s outlook for the ramp up of the new Model 3, continued sales growth in its flagship Model S as well as its sport utility vehicle X, and its energy business.

“This is the best I’ve ever felt about Tesla,” Musk told investors during an earnings call Wednesday after markets closed.

Investors like Adam Jonas at Morgan Stanley, who have traditionally taken a bullish view of Tesla, noted the company spent less than forecast and ended the quarter with more than $3 billion in gross cash.

The firm was also buoyed by Tesla’s forecast that Model S and X sales in the second half of the year would be higher than the first six months of 2017.

“We have anticipated cannibalization from Model 3, particularly versus the ageing Model S,” Jonas wrote, adding Tesla says reservations for both S and X are improving.

Reservations for the Model 3 continue to grow at a pace of about 1,800 a day. If the company sustains that over the next quarter, another 150,000 to 200,000 reservations could be added to the queue, which was at 455,000 as of the July 28 Model 3 event in Fremont, Calif.

“At this pace, incremental Model 3 volume for just the next quarter could be as much as 10 times the full year’s volume of the
Chevy Bolt,” Jonas wrote.

Not everyone is convinced. Barclays analyst Brian A. Johnson took a more cautious view, noting that second quarter results were was helped by an unexpected $100 million worth of zero-emission vehicle credits and questioning whether another capital raise is on the horizon.

“But most importantly, how achievable are these Model 3 targets?” Johnson wrote. “We don’t put much stock in the 1,800 daily order rate—we’d prefer to see how the aggregate order book builds, and what the sales conversion is.”