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By Noel Randewich

Elon Musk looking at the camera: FILE PHOTO: Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk unveils a new all-wheel-drive version of the Model S car in Hawthorne, California © Reuters/Lucy Nicholson FILE PHOTO: Tesla Motors Inc CEO Elon Musk unveils a new all-wheel-drive version of the Model S car in Hawthorne, California

(Reuters) – Shares of Tesla surged to a record high on Thursday, with the electric car maker’s stock market value briefly exceeding Facebook’s for the first time.

The company led by Elon Musk’s stock briefly hit $811.61 during the session, putting its market capitalization at $769 billion. The stock was last up 5.8%, giving the company a value of $758 billion, compared to Facebook’s stock market value of $765 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of car manufacturer Tesla is seen in Bern © Reuters/ARND WIEGMANN FILE PHOTO: The logo of car manufacturer Tesla is seen in Bern

Up over 700% in the past 12 months, the California car maker has become the most valuable auto company in the world, by far, despite production that is a fraction of rivals such as Toyota Motor, Volkswagen and General Motors.

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Musk surpassed Amazon.com Inc’s Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest man, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

Analysts, on average, expect Tesla to report $1.2 billion in net profits for 2020, compared to $5.8 billion in net profits expected from GM and $27.1 billion in net profits expected from Facebook, according to Refinitiv.

Tesla’s latest lift came after RBC raised its rating on Tesla 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 wrote.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich, Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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