Markets

Nasdaq Falls 245 Points as Tesla, Citrix Sell Off After Earnings

Thursday was a bad day on Wall Street, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX: ^IXIC) and Nasdaq-100 suffered the largest declines among the major benchmarks. With drops of roughly 2.5%, the Nasdaq indexes saw much steeper losses than the Dow Jones Industrials and the broader S&P 500 -- let alone the flat performance of the small-cap Russell 2000.

Investors had anticipated earnings results from Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) for months, and in classic sell-the-news mode, the electric vehicle maker's stock dropped even after shareholders got the profit they had hoped to see. Meanwhile, Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS) also released earnings, and although its numbers were solid, they couldn't live up to the high expectations investors had in the tech company.

Tesla is almost certainly S&P 500-bound

Shares of Tesla were down 5%, helping to lead the Nasdaq indexes lower. Interestingly, the stock had traded higher in the after-hours session Wednesday night immediately following its earnings report, but investors apparently had second thoughts by the end of regular trading Thursday.

Dark-colored Tesla Model 3 sedan on a road, with picturesque hilly landscape behind.

Image source: Tesla.

Tesla's results were generally better than most had expected. Revenue for the second quarter of 2020 came in at $6.04 billion, and even though that was down from last year's Q2 numbers, the top line held up well in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The company reversed a year-ago loss with a solid adjusted profit of $2.18 per share.

Importantly for purposes of S&P 500 inclusion, Tesla also posted positive GAAP earnings of $0.50 per share. That marked four quarters in a row of profits, which was the last remaining hurdle for the electric vehicle maker to qualify to join the S&P 500.

However, there were a few things that naysayers looked at closely. Gross margin benefited from a one-time sale of zero-emission credits, which added to revenue. Moreover, Tesla still isn't certain whether it can make its target to deliver 500,000 vehicles in 2020. For a stock that was arguably priced for perfection, that was apparently a few too many wild cards for shareholders to embrace.

Citrix can't satisfy growth-hungry investors

Elsewhere, Citrix Systems saw its stock drop 13%. Even though the virtualization company's second quarter went reasonably well, investors didn't see it that way, making their disappointment clear in the share price response.

Sales at Citrix were up 7% from the year-earlier quarter, led higher by a 54% jump in annual recurring revenue from subscriptions. That produced adjusted earnings of $1.53 per share. Both figures were stronger than consensus forecasts among those watching the stock.

However, some had expected Citrix to deliver consensus-crushing results that investors have seen from other companies cashing in on the big shift toward remote work. With many enterprise clients focusing on fixes that they need right away to keep operating in the COVID-19 world, Citrix hasn't been as successful in getting customers onto its cloud platform as quickly as it had initially hoped. That could hit revenue growth later in 2020 and beyond.

In the long run, Citrix's business remains healthy. But with the stock having climbed as much as 50% year to date right before the announcement, today's pullback seems like a simple pause in a long bull run for the tech company.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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