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Tesla's market cap eclipses largest US energy companies, global automakers

The soaring share price for Tesla Inc., already the world's most valuable automaker, has pushed the electric-car maker's market capitalization above the combined value of the six largest U.S. energy companies.

The surge in the company's shares comes as the energy and auto industries grappled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, from vehicle production shutdowns to a drop in electricity demand.

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Tesla's market cap as of Aug. 28 reached $412.49 billion, following a year-to-date share price surge of 429.1%, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Shares of the carmaker closed at $2,213.40 on Aug. 28, the last day before the company enacted a 5-for-1 stock split. Tesla opened at $444.61 on Aug. 31, the first day of trading under the split, and surged by more than 10% in mid-day trading to $488.37.

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NextEra Energy Inc., the largest U.S. power company by market cap, was worth $136.88 billion as of Aug. 28. Dominion Energy Inc.'s market cap reached $65.48 billion, Duke Energy Corp. came in at $58.62 billion, Southern Co. hit $55.36 billion, American Electric Power Co. Inc. was at $38.87 billion and Exelon Corp. was at $36.10 billion as of Aug. 28.

Toyota's market cap sat at $187.40 billion market cap on Aug. 28, followed by Volkswagen AG, AUDI AG and Daimler AG. The most valuable U.S. automaker after Tesla is General Motors Co. at a $42.96 billion market cap, according to Market Intelligence data.

Tesla straddles the auto and energy spaces and investors assign additional value to the company through its battery and solar energy research. Tesla's market cap is also higher than the combined market cap of the next four major automakers after it overtook Toyota Motor Corp. on July 1 to become the world's most valuable automaker.

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Tesla's share surge also outpaces the return from other automakers, including Toyota, Volkswagen, Audi and Daimler, according to the analysis. Year to date, Toyota shares fell 6.9% through Aug. 28, while Volkswagen shares dropped 20.8%, Daimler fell 11% and Audi posted a 100% gain.

Tesla's battery and electric powertrain operations, which supply third-party original equipment manufacturers, helped drive the surge in the company's share price beyond its car businesses, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jones wrote in an Aug. 13 note.

The company is also expected to announce updates on research into a million-mile battery during a Sept. 22 event, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. said in Aug. 23 note. The battery would be a major step forward in the competition against gas-powered vehicles, while Wall Street is also hoping Tesla can reduce its battery production costs to offer the company more flexibility around pricing its electric vehicles, Ives said.