A123 Systems, a maker of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, hired an adviser to evaluate strategic alternatives for the company, its chief executive said Tuesday, setting off a 5.4 percent gain in its share price. A123, based in Waltham, Mass., rose 4.9 cents, to 96 cents a share. A123 has “retained an outside adviser to provide financial strategic advisory services in connection with our ongoing strategic efforts and evaluation of strategic alternatives,” David P. Vieau, A123’s chief executive, said in a conference call with analysts. The company reported a net loss of 87 cents a share, 50 cents greater than the average of seven estimates compiled by Bloomberg. It expects 2012 sales to range from $145 million to $175 million, compared with an earlier forecast of $230 million to $300 million. “Saying that they’re willing to look at all options may give investors something different to think about,” Amir Rozwadowski, an analyst at Barclays in New York, said in an interview. “The announcement may be shifting the conversation to what is the inherent value of this company’s assets.” Fisker Automotive and BMW use A123 batteries in electric cars. A123’s shares fell 39 percent through Monday since its recall on March 26 of batteries that caused a Fisker car to shut down in a Consumer Reports test. One of A123’s challenges is that some of its customers are developing an emerging product and some of the buyers are start-ups, Mr. Rozwadowski said. That makes it difficult to forecast project end market demand and drive costs lower, he added. “When you have a mismatch between demand and capacity, you have challenges,” Mr. Rozwadowski said.