Tesla (TSLA) will be larger than 95% of the S&P 500 if it qualifies for the index

Tesla Model Y Production (Credit: Tesla)

Following the release of its Q2 2020 vehicle delivery and production report, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) seems to have a solid chance at qualifying for the S&P 500. What is rather remarkable is that if Tesla were to qualify for the S&P 500, it would end up being larger than about 95% of the companies currently included in the index. 

Tesla posted over 90,000 vehicle deliveries of the second quarter, far above Wall Street’s consensus of around 74,000 vehicles. Amidst Elon Musk’s leaked email to employees congratulating them for their work during the quarter, as well as the cheeky release of literal Short Shorts as the company’s latest apparel, speculations suggest that the company could very well post another profitable quarter. 

Posting a profit for Q2 2020 would be a milestone for Tesla. By doing so, the company would be able to report a net profit for four straight quarters, a key hurdle that would allow it to qualify for the S&P 500. So far, Tesla has managed to report a net profit in the past three quarters: $143 million in Q3 2019, $105 million in Q4 2019, and $16 million in Q1 2020. 

With its present day price of about $1,400 per share, Tesla’s market cap currently stands at about $250 billion. This makes the electric car maker larger than about 95% of the companies currently included in the S&P 500. Also interesting is that fellow American automakers such as GM and Ford — whose market caps are dwarfed by Tesla — are presently listed in the index. 

While sentiments are optimistic about Tesla and its potential inclusion in the S&P 500, a S&P Dow Jones spokesperson has declined to comment about any upcoming changes to the index. Tesla, for its part, has been quite silent about the topic as well. 

If Tesla were to qualify for the S&P 500, something remarkable would likely happen. As noted in a Reuters report, actively managed investment funds that benchmark their performance to the S&P 500 will likely end up purchasing TSLA stock. These investment funds typically manage trillions of dollars in additional assets. Jim Bianco, head of Bianco Research in Chicago, described such a scenario. 

“Even if you don’t like Tesla and you think it’s overvalued, the fact that it is going into the index would mean trillions of dollars would have some kind of position. As part of their benchmark, portfolio managers would not be able to ignore it,” the research head said. 

Tesla’s potential inclusion into the S&P 500 will likely be determined later this month after the company posts its second quarter financial results and its Q2 2020 earnings call. If Tesla were to post another profitable quarter, it could strongly emphasize the rise of sustainable energy and the end of fossil fuels, a trend that has been described in some circles as the “Tesla Effect.” 

Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours. 

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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