Tesla rises as Wall Street snubs Detroit

 NEW YORK – Tesla Motors has moved to within striking distance of becoming the largest US automaker by market capitalization, a testament to Wall Street’s growing ardor for Silicon Valley at Detroit’s expense.

The company officially surpassed number two US carmaker Ford on Monday after reporting better-than-expected first quarter sales during the same news cycle, in which general US auto sales disappointed for March.

Shares of Tesla rose 1.74 percent at closing Tuesday to $303.70 per share, lifting its market capitalization to $49.4 billion, $4 billion more than Ford’s and around $1.9 billion below that of top US automaker General Motors.

Tesla still makes and sells a fraction of the cars of those established giants, meaning that its rise on Wall Street is due to expectations that its pioneering work on electric cars will ultimately carry the day.

Tesla’s most important offering on the mass sales front is the Model 3, which is still under development and aimed at the middle market with a far more affordable price than Tesla’s first two autos, the Model S and Model X.

Founder Elon Musk celebrated the company’s surging stock price on Twitter, mocking skeptics with the barb “Stormy weather in Shortville,” a reference to “short sellers” who have lost money betting the stock would fall.-APP