Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

That sharp spike you see in Tesla's already-high stock price is what happened Wednesday when the electric automaker reported a $105 million fourth-quarter profit and offered a rosy take on what's ahead.

Why it matters: Tesla and CEO Elon Musk kick up lots of dust, but the bottom line is that the trajectory of the world's largest electric vehicle seller matters a lot for the tech's wider adoption — even as competitors ramp, up too.

Where it stands: Axios' Joann Muller has lots of good info about the earnings rollout in her full story, but here are some toplines...

  • Tesla expects to remain profitable going forward, with "possible temporary exceptions" around product launches and ramp-ups, it said in the earnings report.
  • Record 2019 deliveries helped drive revenues up 19% over the prior quarter, but profit margins fell because Tesla sold more of the lower-priced Model 3.
  • Its upcoming Model Y compact SUV is ahead of schedule — the production ramp has begun and it plans to start deliveries by the end of this quarter, the company said.
  • Overall, Tesla said full year 2020 deliveries across its product lines will "comfortably exceed 500,000 units."

But, but, but: Battery cell production capacity is the biggest potential bottleneck to growth — as seen in Tesla's decision to not accelerate its semi-truck production beyond limited numbers, Musk said.

  • Increasing that capacity is the top priority, he said.

What they're saying: Tesla tends to lurch from good stretches to near-crises, so there are predictably divided views about how to assess the moment. A sampling:

  • Via MarketWatch, a Wedbush Securities analyst called the results "potentially 'game changing,'" in a note that says it could signal a "new era" for Tesla.
  • “They are not even remotely out of the woods,” Peter DeCaprio of the investment firm Crow Point Partners tells the Los Angeles Times.
  • "At $650, the after-market [stock] price is pretty much divorced from any reasonable underlying math," writes Bloomberg columnist Liam Denning.

Go deeper: Tesla declares 2019 a turning point

Go deeper

Post-debate poll finds Biden strong on every major issue

Joe Biden speaks Friday about "The Biden Plan to Beat COVID-19," at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

This is one of the bigger signs of trouble for President Trump that we've seen in a poll: Of the final debate's seven topics, Joe Biden won or tied on all seven when viewers in a massive Axios-SurveyMonkey sample were asked who they trusted more to handle the issue.

Why it matters: In a time of unprecedented colliding crises for the nation, the polling considered Biden to be vastly more competent.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
4 hours ago - Science

The murder hornets are here

A braver man than me holds a speciment of the Asian giant hornet. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Entomologists in Washington state on Thursday discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S.

Why it matters: You may know this insect species by its nom de guerre: "the murder hornet." While the threat they pose to humans has been overstated, the invading hornets could decimate local honeybee populations if they establish themselves.