image credits to time.com
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is no longer the richest man in the world after Tesla CEO Elon Musk's fortune rose to $188.5 billion on Thursday, $1.5 billion more than Bezos.
Electric car maker Tesla's stock rose more than 6 percent Thursday to push South African Musk into first place, knocking Bezos down from the position he has held for more than three years, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.
Tesla's market capitalization, which measures the value of the company's shares multiplied by their number of shares, has been at a standstill since the beginning of last year, rising from about $80 billion in January 2020 to just over $760 billion today. Musk's personal fortune, linked to Tesla's stock price, rose more than $150 billion last year.
The new valuation is more than eight times the combined value of the traditional "Big Three" U.S. automakers, GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler.
In November, Musk slipped past Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the second richest man in the world, with $128 billion at the time. Musk's enormous personal fortune comes mainly from owning 20 percent of Tesla and 54 percent of his space transportation company SpaceX.
Tesla joined the S&P 500 in December, driving trading volume and volatility as the size of the market capitalization forced investors to rebalance their portfolios to offset their weight in the index.
Meanwhile, Amazon shares fell from a high of $3,500 in September to $3,200, as investors sold out in anticipation that a new administration under President-elect Joe Biden will tighten technology regulation and cut profits for the online retail giant.
Musk's enigmatic, off-center tweets have done little to dampen investor interest in new highs and instead have inspired a passionate fandom of online followers who talk about stocks on bulletin boards and invest using direct trading applications such as Robinhood, where he is one of the most popular stock holders.
So are traditional Wall Street analysts, whose average target for Tesla is about $450 per share, almost half its current value.
According to the Institute of Policy Studies, the United States acquired 56 new billionaires between March and December of last year, bringing the total to 659. In the months since the pandemic began, its wealth has increased by more than $1 trillion.