Tesla Lights Up the Stock Market as Recovery Plays Soar

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The stock market moved sharply higher on Monday, following a three-day weekend on Wall Street. The move upward reflected a delayed reaction to extremely positive numbers on the employment front released on Friday that signaled a healthy bounce in the U.S. economy. Investors have been counting on that kind of rebound in seeing share prices rise as far as they already have, but the new optimism pushed major market benchmarks further into record territory. As of 11 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was up 369 points to 33,522. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) climbed 52 points to 4,071, while the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) remained below its recent highs but still was up 163 points to 13,644.

Investors are still looking closely at electric-vehicle (EV) stocks, and the latest quarterly news from industry giant Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) dominated the market landscape on Monday. However, some stocks in the travel space gave the EV company a run for its money, as both Carnival (NYSE:CCL) and MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM) posted solid gains.

Special delivery

Tesla’s stock was up almost 5% on Monday morning. The EV automaker came out with its first-quarter production and delivery numbers, and investors were impressed with what Tesla said.

Image source: Tesla.

Tesla produced more than 180,000 vehicles during the first three months of 2021. All of those vehicles were mass-market Model 3 sedans or Model Y SUVs, with no production of the older, higher-end Model S and Model X vehicles.

From a delivery standpoint, the numbers were even more impressive. Tesla delivered 184,800 vehicles during the quarter, which was enough to surpass nearly all of the projections that analysts following the automaker had made. Almost all of those deliveries were Model 3 or Model Y vehicles, although Tesla did send more than 2,000 Model S and Model X vehicles to buyers.

Tesla set an impressive target of boosting deliveries by 50% in 2021 to 750,000 vehicles. The run rate from the first quarter means that the company needs almost no growth in delivery counts to meet that target. As production facilities start to ramp up not only in the U.S. but at other strategic points around the world, Tesla should be able to keep its delivery numbers rising indefinitely into the future.

Cruisin’ higher

Meanwhile, in the travel segment, gains were significant. Shares of Carnival rose nearly 6%, with other cruise line stocks following suit. Airlines were broadly higher, and in the hotel and resort space, MGM climbed nearly 7% as other casino operators showed more modest gains.

The entire travel sector has gotten a boost from the rapid uptick in coronavirus vaccination activity across the nation. As more people get the protection from COVID-19 that vaccines provide, they’re more likely to be comfortable traveling, especially as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated guidance for vaccinated people allowing them to travel without quarantine.

For Carnival, shareholders are anxiously awaiting the cruise giant’s coming quarterly financial report on Wednesday. Investors are under no illusions that Carnival will avoid massive losses, as its revenue will inevitably plunge compared to year-ago numbers before the pandemic began. However, they’re counting on more favorable future prognostications to give them the confidence to stick with the stock as the cruise industry seeks a path toward reopening.

As vaccinations continue, resorts like MGM will have an advantage over cruise operators like Carnival, which are likely still to remain at reduced capacity for months to come. Nevertheless, market participants remain confident that the rising tide of vaccinated travelers will lift all travel stocks.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.