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Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA - Analyst Report) hit a new 52-week high of $97.12 on May 14, which is above its previous level of $88.00 a day before, and closed at $83.24 on the same date. The closing price represented a whopping one-year return of 176.9% and year-to-date return of 135.4%.

The Palo Alto, California-based leading manufacturer of electric vehicles and electric vehicle powertrain components has a market cap of $10.05 billion. Average volume of shares traded over the last three months stood at approximately 4,651.6K.

Shares of the company started escalating following the release of its surprising 2013-first quarter results on May 8. The company posted its first-ever quarterly profit of $15.4 million, or 12 cents per share, on an adjusted basis, in the first quarter of 2013 compared with a loss of $79.3 million or 76 cents in the corresponding quarter of 2012. This indicates a whopping positive earnings surprise of 271.4% given the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 7 cents for the quarter.

Revenues jumped manifold to $561.8 million from $30.2 million in the first quarter of 2012. Thanks to the impressive 5,000 units of Model S electric car sales during the quarter.

The automaker continued to supply full electric powertrains and battery packs to Toyota Motor Corp. (TM - Analyst Report) for their RAV4 EV program. It also completed various deliverables under Daimler’s (DDAIF) Mercedes Benz B-Class EV program, which contributed to total development services revenues of nearly $7 million.

Although, total gross margin decreased to 17.1% from 33.8% a year ago but rose from 7.8% in the fourth quarter of 2012 due to higher Model S production rate, manufacturing efficiencies, cost reduction measures and regulatory credit sales.

Tesla expects to manufacture 5,000 Model S vehicles in the second quarter of the year. For full year 2013, the company expects to deliver 21,000 Model S cars globally, up 5% from its prior guidance of 20,000 units.

Tesla also plans to spend about $200 million as capital expenditures in 2013, as it concludes the majority of investments in the Tesla Factory and Model S tooling. Capital expenditures also include the expansion of services, store development, Supercharger networks and new product development.

Currently, shares of Tesla retain a Zacks Rank #3, which implies a short-term (one to three months) Hold rating. Peugeot S.A. with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) is performing well in the broader automotive industry.

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