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Tesla Stock Slides After Q4 Earnings Beat On Supply Chain Caution To 2022 Outlook

Tesla posted record Q4 revenues of $17.7 billion, but noted that supply chain disruptions have held back production capacity and will likely extended into 2022.

Updated at 6:15 am EST

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report shares slipped lower Thursday after the carmaker posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings but cautioned that supply-chain disruptions have held back production capacity and will impact that pace of near-term output at new plants in Germany and Texas. 

Tesla said late Wednesday that it saw a continuation of global supply chain, transportation, labor and other manufacturing challenges, limiting our ability to run our factories at full capacity," although it noted that its original Freemont facility achieved a record production rate.

Founder and CEO Elon Musk said annual sales would still grow 50% from 2021 levels -- suggesting a full-year tally of around $75 billion -- even if only the Freemont and Shanghai gigafactories are running at full speed. 

Tesla said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in December were pegged at $2.54 per share, up more than two-fold from the same period last year and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $2.34 per share.  

Group revenues, Tesla said, rose 65% from last year to a record $17.72 billion, firmly ahead of analysts' forecasts of an $16.57 billion tally. Gross automotive margins were 29.2%, Tesla said, topping Street forecasts of 28.3% but down from 30.5% in the prior quarter.

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Tesla said on January 2 that global deliveries for the three months ending in December rose 70% from last year to 308,600 units, its sixth consecutive quarterly record, taking the 2021 total to 936,172 units. The China Passenger Car Association said Tesla sold 70,847 China-made cars last month, nearly three times that total recorded last year and more than a third ahead of November's pace.

"After a successful 2021, our focus shifts to the future. We aim to increase our production as quickly as we can, not only through ramping production at new factories in Austin and Berlin, but also by maximizing output from our established factories in Fremont and Shanghai," the company said in a statement. "We believe competitiveness in the EV market will be determined by the ability to add capacity across the supply chain and ramp production."  

Tesla shares were marked 1.3% lower in pre-market trading Thursday to indicate an opening bell price of $925.00 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date decline to around 13%.

Tesla said it didn't expect to introduce any new models to its fleet this year, and confirmed earlier reports that its much-hyped cybertruck would be delayed until at least 2023.

Musk, however, said his concern with truck was was more about "making it more affordable" than any design flaws. 

Tesla also noted that it has "sufficient liquidity to fund our product roadmap, long-term capacity expansion plans and other expenses."

Earlier this week, analysts at Moody's Investors Service boosted their credit rating on the carmaker to the edge of investment grade status, a two-notch improvement from its prior credit grade, citing a prudent financial policy, solid liquidity and a 'considerable' increase in cash flow over the 2022 calendar year.