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Tesla posts $438M 1Q profit on strong electric vehicle sales

The company made $438 million in the three-month period that ended March 31.

WASHINGTON — Charged up by strong sales of its electric cars and SUVs, Tesla has reported its seventh-straight profitable quarter.

The company made $438 million in the three-month period that ended March 31. Its sales more than doubled the same period last year to nearly 185,000 vehicles.

Excluding stock-based compensation and non-recurring items, Tesla made 93 cents per share. That beat Wall Street's estimates of 75 cents per share. Once again, the company needed regulatory credits purchased by other automakers in order to make a profit.

Without $518 million in credits, Tesla would have lost money. Other automakers buy the credits when they can’t meet emissions and fuel economy standards.

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Tesla is one of the first companies to report earnings this week. Investors will also get results from Apple, Microsoft, Boeing, McDonald's and others.

Overall, modest gains for stocks nudged the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to more record highs on Wall Street as investors brace for a deluge of earnings reports from big U.S. companies. The S&P 500 climbed 0.2% Monday, while the Nasdaq added 0.9%. 

The Dow Jones industrials ended slightly lower. Of the 500 members of the S&P 500 index, 181 will report their results this week. The big-name companies' first-quarter reports are what will be telling investors how they did in the first three months of the year.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.57%.