Though the last three months have been quite volatile for Tesla's (TSLA - Get Report) shares, Elon Musk's company is heading into its Q2 report trading almost right where it was at heading into its Q1 report.
It wouldn't exactly be shocking to see more volatility from Tesla following its Q2 report, given how its stock has moved post-earnings in the past. On average, analysts polled by FactSet expect the electric car maker to report Q2 revenue of $6.47 billion (up 62% annually thanks to the Model 3 production ramp), GAAP EPS of negative $1.27 and non-GAAP EPS of negative $0.39.
Tesla's reports earnings after the market close on Wednesday, and hosts an earnings call that starts at 6:30 P.M. Eastern time. Here are some things for investors to keep an eye on.
1. Deliveries Guidance
In April, Tesla reiterated full-year guidance for 360,000 to 400,000 vehicle deliveries, up from a 2018 level of 246,000. However, Tesla didn't mention the guidance in a stronger-than-expected Q2 deliveries report that was released in early July. For now, the consensus estimate for 2019 vehicle deliveries stands at 361,000.
2. Profit and Cash-Flow Guidance
Tesla forecast in April it will deliver positive free cash flow (FCF) during the last three quarters of 2019, and be profitable during the year's last two quarters. But at Tesla's June shareholder meeting, Musk would only say that his company "could be cash-flow positive" this year.
The consensus is currently for Tesla to post FCF of $136 million in Q2, $51 million in Q3 and $311 million in Q4. FCF was negative $920 million in Q1.
3. Automotive Margins
Excluding zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) credits and stock compensation, Tesla had a Q1 automotive gross margin (GM) of 20.3%, down from a Q4 level of 24.7% and up from a Q1 2018 level of 18.8%. With vehicle deliveries up 51% sequentially in Q2, automotive GM likely rose in Q2.
Tesla said in April it's still aiming for "a 25% non-GAAP gross margin on Model S, Model X and Model 3, depending on variant mix and option take rates as our product offerings change." The company's recent decision to stop selling the Standard Range versions of the Model S and X could boost margins for its costliest cars, albeit while potentially dinging volumes.
4. Opex and Capex
Tesla has tried to pare its spending in recent months, conducting multiple layoffs and also shifting to an online-centric sales model. The company's GAAP operating expenses were up only 3% annually in Q1 to $1.09 billion, and are forecast on average by analysts to be nearly flat sequentially and down 6% annually in Q2.
In addition to its reported opex, keep an eye on Tesla's capital spending guidance, which is impacted by the building of its Shanghai Gigafactory. In April, Tesla said it plans to spend $2 billion to $2.5 billion on capex this year, after having previously set a capex budget of $2.5 billion.
5. The Energy Business
Tesla is still having a hard time making its "energy generation and storage" unit, which covers its solar operations and its Powerwall/Powerpack energy storage business, profitable. In Q1, the segment's revenue fell 21% annually to $324.7 million due to lower solar deployments, and its GM fell to a mere 2.4% from a year-ago level of 8.5%.
For Q2, the consensus is for energy generation and storage revenue to be up 13% annually to $424 million, and for a segment GM of slightly over 10%. Tesla said in April it expects the segment's revenue to grow "significantly" in 2019 from a 2018 level of $1.56 billion, and for its GM to improve as energy storage margins rise.
6. Services Losses
In Q1, Tesla's "services and other" segment, which covers (among other things) the Supercharger network, used car sales and maintenance/repair services, posted a GAAP gross loss of negative $192.5 million on revenue of $493 million (up 87%), thanks in large part due to the costs of supporting the Supercharger network.
For Q2, the consensus is for segment revenue of $488 million (up 81%) and a gross loss of $125 million. Tesla said in April it expects the segment's revenue to grow "as our fleet size and used car volumes rise," and that (without sharing a figure) it's "targeting gross margin improvements throughout this year."
7. China Commentary
Tesla's Q2 sales got a boost from the start of Chinese (and European) Model 3 deliveries. And the company has said it's aiming to start Model 3 volume production at its Shanghai Gigafactory early in Q4. Any update Tesla provides about the Shanghai plant's buildout is worth paying attention to, as are any comments about how Chinese vehicle sales have been trending in the interim amid ongoing trade tensions.