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Tesla stock cracks $500 in 'eye-popping rally' for Elon Musk's electric vehicle company

Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY

Tesla's stock cracked the $500 mark for the first time Monday as the electric vehicle maker continues a meteoric rise.

The Palo Alto, California-based company's shares rose nearly 10% on Monday to close at $524.86. The stock was trading below $400 in December and below $300 in October.

At today's level, the company's total market value of about $94 billion is more than that of General Motors and Ford Motor combined.

Strong sales in the fourth quarter and the beginning of production at Tesla's new China factory have given investors renewed confidence in the company's prospects.

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The stock's recent performance amounts to "an eye-popping rally," as investors are betting that CEO Elon Musk has the company on track for massive growth, Wedbush Securities stock analyst Dan Ives wrote Friday in a note to investors.

"The table has turned quickly for Musk as a few quarters ago the company was facing red ink, demand issues were lingering in the U.S., and the management turnover was seeing a major perceived talent drain," Ives said.

Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk gestures while introducing the newly unveiled all-electric battery-powered Tesla Cybertruck

Ives said Tesla "has the most impressive product roadmap out of any technology/auto vendor around."

The Model 3 sedan has also become one of the best-selling passenger cars of any kind in America. While Tesla doesn't provide a breakdown of sales by country, the company sold nearly 159,000 in the U.S. last year, according to estimates by InsideEVs, which tracks electric car sales.

Despite the company's recent success, some analysts remain skeptical.

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said last week that he believes the stock's proper value is only $200.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tesla stock cracks $500 in 'eye-popping rally' for Elon Musk