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Liam Denning

Tesla Racks Up Another Record Year (and Another Loss)

The dissonance between mouse-sized results and elephantine market reactions is deafening.

Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk.

Photographer: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Three months ago, Tesla Inc. notched up a $9 billion gain in market capitalization in the immediate aftermath of reporting a $143 million quarterly profit. On Wednesday, it reaped $12 billion on $105 million. Don’t forget the $50 billion it racked up in between those dates, of course.

Tesla’s market cap has more than doubled to more than $100 billion since reporting that surprise profit for the third quarter. Besides that boost to confidence, the company also managed to meet the low end of delivery guidance for the fourth quarter, started producing vehicles at its new plant in China, unveiled the Cybertruck and began teasing out details of a planned factory in Germany. The latest quarterly profit and $1 billion of free cash flow for the fourth quarter have evidently kept the momentum going.