Tesla shares rebound from steep rout

FILE PHOTO: Tesla electric vehicles for test driving are parked in Hanam

By Noel Randewich

(Reuters) – Shares of Tesla jumped 5% on Thursday, winning back gains for a second day after suffering their worst one-session rout ever earlier this week.

The electric car maker’s rise brought its two-day gain to 17%, far outperforming the Nasdaq, which struggled to recover from a recent sell-off fueled by technology stocks.

Tesla on Tuesday tumbled 21% after S&P Dow Jones Indices opted not to add the world’s most valuable carmaker to the S&P 500, surprising traders who had bet heavily that it would be added to the index. Following its rebound on Wednesday and Thursday, Tesla remains down about 23% from its record high close on Aug. 31.

Even after its recent drop, Tesla‚Äôs stock has surged over 300% this year as the company has reported improved profitability, helped by the sale of regulatory credits that offset losses in its core business of selling cars. Tesla’s market capitalization stands at about $360 billion, making it more valuable than all but a handful of U.S. publicly listed companies.

Last week, the six-month average of Tesla’s market capitalization surpassed $200 billion, qualifying Chief Executive Elon Musk for a third tranche of options awarded as part of his 2018 pay package. Together, the three tranches are now worth an unprecedented $8 billion, after accounting for the cost of exercising them.

The median compensation for Tesla employees last year was about $58,000, according to a company filing. In April, Tesla cut employees’ salaries during a shutdown of its U.S. production facilities because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Tesla investors and analysts are now focused on the company’s “Battery Day” event on Sept. 22, the same day as its shareholder meeting, with Musk expected to tout improvements in battery performance.

At an event similarly promoting autonomous driving technology last year, Musk said that Tesla robotaxis with no human drivers would be available in some U.S. markets in 2020, continuing a habit of bold pronouncements that have excited loyal investors while often missing deadlines.

(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Dan Grebler)