Tesla Motors is having a great debut despite a gloomy market today, with share prices surging from the starting point of $19 to $21.89 a half hour before the Nasdaq’s close at 4 p.m. EST. The stock is now trading 30 percent above where it was priced last night at $17, boosting its valuation above $2 billion.
The electric car company seems to be defying gravity on several levels. The market is miserable today, with the Dow Jones Industrial average dropping 293 points (2.9 percent). The Nasdaq Composite Index is down 89 points (4 percent). But Tesla is still climbing.
The elevated stock price is consistent with analyst predictions that the IPO would pop on its first day, with prices trailing off several days to a week later after the excitement has died down. Even before the stock was priced yesterday, intense investor interest and media buzz suggested that the company would fare well on its first day.
One of the big questions coming out of today’s sale is whether Tesla’s success bodes well for the cleantech sector in general. Green companies have been having a tough time on the public markets recently, with both biofuel maker Codexis and solar module maker Jinko Solar seeing tepid sales.
For now, it looks like Tesla is a big exception that won’t have any bearing on the performance of other green companies in areas like solar, wind, biofuels and the smart grid. The company is different in many respects. Not least among them: you can’t equate a crystalline silicon solar panel with a sexy sports car, no matter how slick it looks.