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Tesla Stock's Lifting the Nasdaq, but Here's Thursday's Biggest Winner

The Motley Fool logo The Motley Fool 1/26/2023 Dan Caplinger
Tesla Stock's Lifting the Nasdaq, but Here's Thursday's Biggest Winner © Provided by The Motley Fool Tesla Stock's Lifting the Nasdaq, but Here's Thursday's Biggest Winner

Investors appear to be back in bull market mode, as markets mounted an impressive recovery from steep losses Wednesday and then built up even more positive momentum. Stock index futures on the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) were up nearly 1% early Thursday, as market participants continued to be pleased with the way the economy appears to be holding up even as many have feared a potential recession.

One key driver of the Nasdaq's gains was Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), which rose sharply after the company released its fourth-quarter financial results. However, the rise in Tesla stock was small compared to what shareholders in Qualtrics International (NASDAQ: XM) experienced Thursday morning. Read on to learn more about Qualtrics and also to see how Tesla's final results for 2022 impressed its shareholders.

Tesla gets a big gain

Shares of Tesla were up 9% in premarket trading on Thursday morning. The electric vehicle pioneer delivered an impressive fourth-quarter report that appeared to be successful in dispelling worries about flagging demand.

Tesla's key metrics continued to grow. Revenue of $24.32 billion was up 37% year over year, but perhaps the most positive development was that operating expenses were once again down from year-ago levels, this time falling 16%. That helped boost adjusted net income by 43% to $4.11 billion, working out to adjusted earnings of $1.19 per share. For the full year, sales jumped 51% and adjusted net income soared 85% from 2021 levels.

Tesla intends to keep expanding its operations. It explained that even though it might not hit its 50% production growth target every single year, it intends to stay on the track over the long run. Moreover, it sees itself doing some catching up in 2023, projecting greater than 50% growth to produce 1.8 million cars for the year.

CEO Elon Musk sought to put demand concerns to rest, arguing that orders in January are the strongest in the company's history and are almost double the pace at which Tesla is making EVs. Between cost controls and efforts to make cars more affordable for marginal buyers, Tesla gave a message that its shareholders were quite comfortable hearing, and positive outlooks could keep giving the stock a boost.

Qualtrics surges as SAP seeks to sell its stake

Shares of Qualtrics International had even bigger gains early Thursday, rising 32%. The Utah-based application software specialist reported its latest quarterly financials late Wednesday, and a major shareholder also announced its plans to divest its stake in the company.

Qualtrics reported solid growth in its fourth-quarter report, building on past success. Revenue of $389 million was up 23% year over year, capping a year of 36% sales growth. Remaining performance obligations over the next 12 months climbed 19% to top the $1.2 billion mark, showing a healthy pipeline of future business and loyalty among current customers. Moreover, Qualtrics posted a modest adjusted profit of $16 million, working out to $0.03 per share and reversing a larger loss in the year-ago period.

Qualtrics does anticipate its growth slowing in 2023, but that didn't seem to affect shareholders. Calls for full-year sales of $1.661 billion to $1.669 billion would work out to just a 14% growth rate, but the company sees itself posting a much larger adjusted profit for the full year than it did in 2022.

Investors also reacted favorably to SAP's decision to sell off its remaining holdings in Qualtrics stock after having spun off a minority stake in the company's 2020 IPO. The move will give Qualtrics independence to pursue its own vision without potential interference, and Qualtrics shareholders believe an SAP sale will go smoothly enough to be a net win for the stock.


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Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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