A Tesla super charging station in Arlington, Virginia

AFP via Getty Images

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Tesla

stock has been dead money for much of 2021—but it’s showing signs of life again. The next month could go a long way in determining the direction of the stock over the next couple of quarters and beyond.

There’s a lot going on. For starters, Tesla’s “beta button” has arrived. Tesla (ticker: TSLA) owners can now request the most sophisticated version of Tesla’s autonomous-driving software—dubbed Full Self Driving, or FSD—with the press of a finger. The button went live on Friday. It’s just the next feature that the company likely hopes will keep drivers flocking to Tesla’s cars.

Next, Tesla will hold its 2021 annual meeting at the company’s new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, on Oct. 7 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. The choice of venue is telling. It’s Tesla’s second large U.S. manufacturing facility and the one that will be producing the Cybertruck early in 2022. Investors will be very interested in what the plant looks like and what Tesla management says about when Cybertrucks and Model Ys, the other car being produced in Texas, will be rolling off the assembly line. Tesla’s German facility is due to start producing cars in October.

This coming year will be the year of the EV truck. Tesla,


Ford Motor

(F), Rivian, and


General Motors

(GM), among others, will have some all-electric light-duty trucks on sale. It’s a huge expansion of the EV addressable market. Trucks are popular vehicles in the U.S.

After the annual meeting comes the next big event: Tesla’s third-quarter earnings. Those are due in late October. Wall Street is looking for $1.38 in per-share earnings from $13 billion in sales. Tesla earned $1.45 a share from $12 billion in sales during the second quarter.

Analysts project about 221,000 vehicles to be delivered. The company delivered about 201,000 vehicles in the second quarter.

This is all happening as Tesla stock is at its highest level in months. Shares closed at $774.49 on Friday. Tesla shares are now up about 10% year to date, trailing just behind comparable gains of the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average. But all those gains have come recently. Tesla stock is up 15% over the past three months. Its shares are up 2.2% in afternoon trading on Monday.

If nothing else, Tesla stock should be more exciting—for bulls and bears—in the coming months.

Write to Al Root at [email protected]

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