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Tesla Stock Hits 7-Month High After Record China Sales Tees-Up Q3 Earnings

Tesla sold just over 56,000 China-made cars in the world's biggest market last month, filling in the last data release ahead of next week's third quarter earnings release.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report shares hit a seven-month high Tuesday after the carmaker defied a sharp slowdown in China to record its best-ever September sales tally from the world's biggest car market.

Tesla sold 56,006 of its China-made vehicles in that market last month, data from the China Passenger Car Association indicated Tuesday, a 27% increase from August and the highest total since the opening of its Shanghai gigafactory in 2019. The figures contrasted sharply to a near 20% decline in overall China car sales, the fifth consecutive month of declines, as the nation's power crisis, and the ongoing semiconductor shortage, lingers over the industry.

Tesla's September China sales add the final piece of information to its record third quarter deliveries, which rose 73.2% from last year to 241,300 amid call from founder and CEO Elon Musk to "go hardcore" in the face of chip shortages and plant closures. 

Tesla acknowledged "supply chain and logistics challenges" in its third quarter delivery statement, and thanked customers "for their patience" over the quarter, while Musk admitted the carmaker was "operating under extreme supply chain limitations regarding certain 'standard' automotive chips", and told investors in July that it could impact production rates over the second half of the year.

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Tesla shares were marked 1.75% higher in late-morning trading Tuesday to change hands at $805.60 each, after hitting a seven-month high of $810.25 earlier in the session.

Short interest in Tesla remains elevated ahead of its third quarter earnings on October 20, with data from S3 Partners pegging bets against Tesla at around $21 billion, or 3.34% of the stock's outstanding float.