Tesla stock surges as broader market plummets

(June 30, 2010)  NEW YORK — Stock in Tesla Motors Inc., the first U.S. carmaker to launch a public stock offering in 54 years, surged almost 41 percent in its first day of trading even as broader markets were plummeting.

Tesla finished the day with a gain of $6.89, to $23.89 a share. Tesla, the electric car company that counts Daimler and Toyota among its shareholders, raised $226 million selling shares Monday above its forecast price range.

Tesla sold 13.3 million shares at $17 each Monday after offering them for $14 to $16, according to Bloomberg data and a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The California green car maker will use the proceeds to pay for factories and possible acquisitions, the SEC filing showed.

The maker of the $109,000 electric Roadster bought by Brad Pitt and George Clooney started trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker TSLA.

Broader markets skidded, with the Nasdaq down 3.85 percent and the Dow Jones industrial average falling 2.65 percent.

Tesla founder Elon Musk, appearing in New York today, said his company could be profitable if it continued to make pricey sports cars, but is instead forgoing income to build a car aimed at mass-market commuters.

"A lot of people were puzzled about why we were going public without profits," Musk, dressed in jeans and an unbuttoned shirt, told reporters outside the Nasdaq building in Times Square, near several Tesla Roadsters.

"The reason we are not profitable today is because we are in the midst of expanding with the Model S," Musk added.

Model S is a luxury electric sedan it plans to launch in 2012 and to sell starting from $57,400.