Musk passed business tycoon Warren Buffett in July to become the seventh richest person. In November, Musk pipped Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates to become the second richest person.
This week Tesla’s market capitalisation also exceeded that of Facebook’s (FB) for the first time in history, making it the fifth-most-valuable company in the S&P 500 (^GSPC).
It is just behind Google parent Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.22tn.
Days ago, RBC raised its rating on Tesla stock to “sector perform” from “underperform.”
RBC analyst Joseph Spak said in his research note that he previously underestimated Tesla’s ability to use its soaring stock price to raise capital to fund the company’s expansion.
“We took a fresh look at the growth opportunity, what we got wrong about TSLA’s positioning and the valuation and conclude that the stock price itself is likely to be somewhat self-fulfilling to TSLA’s growth and strategy,” Spak said.
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Although Tesla is now the largest auto manufacturer in the world, its production is only a fraction of some of its rivals’ sales such as General Motors (GM) and Toyota (TM).
Tesla deliveries for 2020 fell just shy of Musk’s personal target, but smashed through Wall Street estimates.
It delivered 499,550 vehicles last year, nearly 20,000 more than Wall Street estimates of 481,261, according to Refinitiv data reported by Reuters. Musk had set his sights on half a million.
Musk tweeted last week that he thought the company had just a 10% chance of “surviving it all” and that he was proud of his team for the near half a million in deliveries.