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The relentless rally in Tesla Inc. shares has driven its valuation close to the consumer product behemoth Procter & Gamble Co. as investors bet on the electric vehicle maker’s ability to dominate the automotive market of the future.
The stock jumped as much as 8.9% to a record intraday high of $1,796.98 in New York on Aug. 17, despite reports of a drop in the registrations of Chinese-made Tesla cars in July. China is a key market for Tesla, and the company is ramping up production there after starting deliveries from its massive Shanghai plant around the beginning of the year.
Tesla shares are up 327% this year, fueled by growing anticipation that the company will be included in the S&P 500 Index. The carmaker’s plan to split its stock into a 5-for-1 exchange to make shares more accessible for individual investors also is expected to drive up demand. Tesla was the eighth most popular stock on the Robinhood app Aug. 17, according to data from Robintrack.net.
Meanwhile, Wall Street has warmed to the stock, as evidenced by a steady stream of upgrades and price target boosts. The latest came from Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, who raised his target to $1,900 from $1,800, saying Tesla has seen strong demand in Europe and China in the third quarter, with the U.S. market remaining softer.
“The China growth story is worth at least $400 per share in a bull case to Tesla as this electric vehicle penetration is set to ramp significantly over the next 12 to 18 months,” Ives wrote. He kept his bull-case target at $2,500.
Tesla’s market value is hovering around $333.7 billion, just shy of P&G’s $336.6 billion, which places the maker of Pampers and Crest as the 11th-biggest stock on the S&P 500, according to Bloomberg data. Retail giant Walmart has the 10th-biggest valuation on the index, at $384.3 billion.
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