Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk became the fifth-richest person in the world on Monday, according to Forbes. His net worth is valued at over R1.2 trillion ($74 billion).
  • The majority of Musk's wealth is tied to shares in his companies, Tesla and SpaceX.
  • Despite factory closures due to COVID-19, Tesla's value has increased by R3.3 trillion ($200 billion) since March, vaulting Musk up various indexes of the world's most wealthy individuals.
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Elon Musk's net worth skyrocketed past the R1.2 trillion ($74 billion) mark on Monday afternoon, making him the fifth richest person in the world, according to Forbes.

In mid-March, Musk was worth almost R411 billion ($25 billion) and was ranked the 31st-richest person by Forbes. Since then, his net worth has nearly tripled, and he has vaulted up the list, passing Warren Buffet, Phil Knight, and Michael Bloomberg on the way.

The majority of Musk's wealth is tied to shares in his companies, Tesla and SpaceX. Tesla's value has increased by R3.3 trillion ($200 billion) since March, frequently hitting record highs after delivering stronger-than-expected vehicle delivery numbers.

A smaller fraction of his wealth - about R1.6 billion - is tied up in real estate. But that's likely to change. In May, Musk announced that he planned to sell all of his worldly possessions, and listed nearly R657 million of property.

Like many automakers, Tesla has had a tumultuous few months as Americans increasingly stayed inside during shelter-in-place guidelines. Since March, the company's only US car factory faced shutdowns due to the coronavirus. Musk said that stopping production at the factory, based in Fremont, California, posed a "serious risk" to business, and went on to sue the local county over its shelter-in-place orders and reopen in spite of them.

Despite these hurdles, Tesla went on to deliver 90,650 vehicles to customers in Q2, topping Wall Street predictions by 20,000 vehicles.

In addition, Tesla's stock has been boosted by speculation that the company could be added to the S&P 500 after Wednesday's Q2 earnings report. Tesla also announced that it will be presenting new battery technology at a "Battery Day" in September.

Still, Tesla's meteoric stock price has perplexed analysts - and even Musk himself, who sent the stock tumbling after tweeting out that he felt it was overvalued.

Tesla's car output pales in comparison to its peers like Ford, GM, and Fiat-Chrysler, yet its market cap still dominates the legacy automakers. Tesla is now worth nearly R5 trillion compared to Ford's R427 billion, General Motors' R625 billion, and Fiat-Chrysler's R263 billion.

Enthusiasm from young investors and day traders have made it a popular stock. Tesla is the 8th-most traded stock on Robinhood, according to trade-tracking website Robintrack. On some days, Tesla trading can be frenzied. Last week, 40,000 Robinhood users added Tesla shares during a four hour period, according to a Bloomberg analysis of Robintrack data.

Another of Musk's ventures, SpaceX, has also enjoyed positive publicity following the launch of the Crew Dragon spacecraft, which made Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley the first NASA astronauts to fly on a commercial rocket to the International Space Station. The space technology company is worth nearly R592 billion, according to Pitchbook data.

Despite recent gains, Musk's wealth is still dwarfed by four men: Jeff Bezos, Bernald Arnault of LVMH, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Yet, Tesla's fortunes, as well as Musk's, may change soon. Its second-quarter earnings report is scheduled for Wednesday after the market close. The earnings could propel the stock - and Musk's net worth - even higher, or reverse the big gains from recent weeks.

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