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Tesla stock charges higher

November 5, 2012: 1:11 PM ET

It's electric! Tesla shares rose Monday on better-than-expected sales of the Model S. But some investors aren't convinced Tesla is a great long-term bet.

It's been a good couple of days for Elon Musk and his electric car company Tesla. Last week, Automobile Magazine named the company's Model S as its "car of the year." On Monday morning, Tesla followed up that bit of good news with financial results that pleased Wall Street.

Sure, Tesla (TSLA) is still losing money. And it actually posted a loss that was a bit larger than what analysts were expecting. But Tesla's sales topped forecasts and investors were happy with the company's guidance. Shares rose more than 8% as a result.

Tesla's stock has been on a wild rise this year. Shares are lagging the performance of General Motors (GM) and the rest of the world's largest automakers, which all have electric cars as well as hybrids to cater to the energy-conscious consumer.

Toyota (TM), for example, reported strong earnings Monday morning, following similarly good numbers from Ford (F) and GM last week. It may be tough for Tesla to compete with the giants from Detroit and Japan.

It's also important to note that Tesla did hurdle a low bar Monday. The company issued a sales warning back in September and said that production of the Model S was slower than what Wall Street wanted to hear. Unsurprisingly then, traders on StockTwits are still divided about the long-term prospects for Tesla.

harryfend: @bigbuddha $TSLA no profits for long time looks like an $AMZN of hyped cars. #fail

greenchipjeff: Positive Q3 for $TSLA must really be frustrating for electric car doubters: http://stks.co/cDa8

It may be a stretch to call Tesla a failure. And any company could do a lot worse than being the Amazon (AMZN) of anything. But I get the point. Both Amazon and Tesla look richly valued and are trading more on future potential as opposed to strong short-term profits.

At the same time, it may also be unfair to say that Tesla's results were completely positive. Tesla is still losing money. And while sales topped forecasts, they were still lower than a year ago.

Related: Year of the electric car blows a fuse

Investors seem encouraged that Tesla may be able to start ramping up production again. But even fans of Musk admit that investors may be getting ahead of themselves until the company can prove it's able to produce more vehicles.

slangwise: Tesla shares are up 2% ahead of the open. Loss widens but Elon & Co. say deliveries are ahead of schedule: http://t.co/tsjfOLmz $TSLA

MissmoT: $TSLA I really hope Tesla succeeds and Musk becomes the next Rockefeller/Carnegie. How the stock is up tho is crazy. More cars please.

Tesla wasn't the only "clean" energy that was doing well Monday though. And at least one trader thinks that the rally in Tesla as well as First Solar (FSLR) may be Wall Street's way of predicting the outcome of Tuesday's presidential election.

BaselineAce: Mr. Market seems to be expecting an Obama reelection today: $TSLA $FSLR

I don't know if I'd go that far yet. But it does seem safe to assume that alternative energy stocks would get a bounce Wednesday if Obama is re-elected.

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Paul Lamonica
Paul R. La Monica
Assistant Managing Editor, CNNMoney

Paul R. La Monica is an assistant managing editor at CNNMoney. He is the author of the site's daily column, The Buzz, and also tweets throughout the day about the markets and economy @LaMonicaBuzz. La Monica also oversees the site's economic, markets and technology coverage.

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