NEW YORK – Elon Musk has regained his spot as the world’s richest person, after briefly losing the title to France’s Bernard Arnault.
Mr Musk’s wealth has been buoyed by a nearly 70 per cent surge in Tesla’s stock price this year. It’s up about 100 per cent from its intraday low on Jan 6 as investors pile back into bets on riskier growth stocks amid signs of economic strength and a slower pace of Federal Reserve interest-rate increases. The company has also benefited from more demand for its electric vehicles after cutting prices on several models.
Tesla shares rose 5.5 per cent to US$207.63 at 4pm in New York on Monday, boosting Mr Musk’s net worth to US$187.1 billion (S$252 billion), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That exceeds the US$185.3 billion personal fortune of Mr Arnault, the 73-year-old French tycoon behind luxury-goods powerhouse LVMH.
Mr Musk, 51, entered 2023 with a net worth of US$137 billion, becoming the first person ever to lose US$200 billion from their fortune and raising the prospect that he might struggle to reclaim his title as the world’s richest individual. He was displaced atop Bloomberg’s wealth index for more than two months after a steep slide in Tesla, where he’s chief executive officer.
Donations Mr Musk made late last year didn’t make much of a dent in his net worth. He gave 11.6 million Tesla shares to unnamed charitable causes between August and December, according to a disclosure in February. The stock was worth about US$1.9 billion, based on closing prices on the days it was donated.
Tesla investors had been concerned that he was devoting too much of his attention to Twitter, which he acquired in October, at the same time that his electric carmaker was facing heightened competition across the industry. Mr Musk said in December he plans to resign from his post at the social-media platform once he finds someone “foolish” enough to take the job.
He said this month that he may need until the end of the year to stabilise Twitter’s finances before handing off to a new CEO.
Tom Narayan, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said in a February report that Tesla’s price cuts had spurred demand for vehicles, and that the company is the “poster child” of electric cars.
“We believe there is strong demand for Tesla product even in the face of more EV competition,” Mr Narayan wrote.
Tesla is hosting its 2023 investor day on Wednesday, with the company’s leaders set to discuss long-term expansion plans.
Tesla’s gains have far outpaced the rally in the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 Index, which is up about 10 per cent in 2023. This year has included occasional bursts of speculative trading manias among retail traders – and Tesla is a favourite among that group. BLOOMBERG