Tesla Shares Slip on Wider-Than-Expected Loss (Update1)

Tickers in this article: TSLA
(Updated from 4:26 p.m. EST to provide executive comments regarding first quarter guidance in the fourth and fifth paragraphs.)

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tesla Motors'(TSLA) fourth-quarter earnings were mixed, with revenue beating Wall Street estimates but losses coming in wider than expected.

Tesla reported a fourth-quarter non-GAAP loss of 65 cents per share on $306 million in revenue. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for a loss of 53 cents per share on $298.2 million in revenue.

"During the quarter, we delivered approximately 2,400 Model S vehicles. We delivered the remaining North American Signature Series cars and shipped exclusively cars with the 85 kWh battery pack. We also saw strong demand for options such as the Performance version and Tech Package. Finally, we sold most of our remaining Roadsters during the quarter," CEO Elon Musk wrote in a letter to shareholders.

Demand is strong for the Model S Musk said on the conference call. "We have enough reservations to fill out the year, and just on shear momentum, sell every car we make, even if we close every car."

The company gave its outlook for the first quarter and 2013. For the full year, Tesla expects to deliver about 20,000 Model S units, with 4,500 of them in the first quarter. Tesla expects first-quarter gross margins to be in the mid-teens and rise toward its target of 25% in the second half of the year. "We really have very high confidence that we will have a profitable first-quarter," Musk said on the earnings call.

In the first quarter, Tesla expects to be "slightly positive net income, on a non-GAAP basis. We also expect to be near breakeven on cash flow from operations."

In addition to first-quarter guidance, Musk touched on the second quarter. He wouldn't commit to a profit in the second quarter but noted on the conference call he thinks "we'll be profitable in the second quarter and subsequent quarters as well."

Shares of Tesla finished Wednesday trading lower, down 1% to $38.90. The stock is moving lower in extended-hours trading, down 6.1% to $36.19, according to Nasdaq.com.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

>Contact by Email.