High-flying SpaceX is now worth more than troubled Tesla Inc. and looks to stay that way in the near future.
Riding high on a string of positive news, including the launch of its first big group of Starlink satellites and the continuing success of its rocket launch business, SpaceX has rocked to a valuation of $33.3 billion, which positions it just ahead of Tesla's $32.8 billion.
Musk is the largest shareholder and CEO of both companies. He owns a 54% stake in SpaceX and more than 20% of Tesla.
Tesla, however, has been beset by an unending spate of bad production numbers and a dearth of cash that is leading some analysts to predict its bankruptcy within 2020 at the earliest. Morgan Stanley is so downbeat on Tesla it predicted Tesla's stock will sink to just $10 per share.
Since the start of this year, SpaceX successfully orbited 60 of its Starlink satellites into orbit and, more important, has raised more than $1.02 billion in funding. By comparison, Tesla shares lost more than 44 percent during the same period.
Analysts said SpaceX's ascending value is an opportunity for Musk to reinforce Tesla with collateral from his SpaceX shares, which he will eventually have to do it Tesla's fortunes continue to slide. They said much of Tesla's problems emanate from the company's inability to control spending.
Last week, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas predicted investors shouldn't dismiss the possibility Musk will use his SpaceX stake to "collateralize" Tesla.
"There's a precedent for Elon Musk to think across his portfolio of companies," he said, referring the controversial 2016 acquisition of SolarCity by Tesla. The deal cost Tesla around $5 billion. Tesla issued $2 billion in stock and absorbed $3 billion in SolarCity debt. It was also seen as a bailout for Musk and his family. His cousins were the owners of SolarCity.
Trump's escalating trade war against China is also making it a lot more expensive for Tesla to export its vehicles to China. The upcoming round of new tariffs on China promised by Trump might make the cost of a Tesla so prohibitive as to dent its future growth before the Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai comes online in 2020.
Tesla also is also paying a lot more money on goods imported by China into the United States since some of its electric vehicles' components are made in China.