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Tesla shares rise on continued Model S optimism

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. continued to soar Monday, marking three straight days of hefty gains, on optimism about the boost the electric car maker could get from its Model S sedan.

THE SPARK: On Thursday Tesla said that the Model S tied an older Lexus model for the highest score ever recorded in Consumer Reports magazine's automotive testing.

The Model S, which starts at $62,400 after a federal tax credit, scored 99 points on a scale of 100 in the magazine's battery of tests. The last vehicle to score that high was a Lexus 460L full-size luxury car tested in 2007.

THE BIG PICTURE: The magazine tested a Model S that cost $89,650 and was equipped with an 85 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery that's larger than the standard battery. The car went from zero to 60 mph in only 5.6 seconds. The magazine said it handled like a Porsche sports car, yet it was the quietest car it had tested since the Lexus LS. The interior, the magazine said, was beautifully crafted and reminded testers of an Audi.

The news came a day after Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla posted its first quarterly net profit since it was founded a decade ago. Both the company's adjusted earnings and sales easily beat Wall Street predictions.

THE SHARES: Up $9.14, or 11.9 percent, to $85.90 in afternoon trading, after peaking at $86.98 earlier in the session at their highest price since the company went public in June 2010.

Over the past three days, the shares have gained about 53 percent.