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Tesla Now Eligible for the S&P 500

The electric vehicle producer could join the ranks of the index.

Prolific electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla is currently the ninth largest publicly-traded company in the entire United States. As the effective face of the commercial electric vehicle industry, Tesla’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric, recently surpassing Walmart in sheer market value. Yet, oddly, despite Tesla’s success, it is not included in the 500 companies tracked by the S&P 500 index. With the posting of last month’s revenue showcasing four straight quarters of profitability, Tesla now officially qualifies for admission into the S&P 500, but the powers that be are less than eager to have them.

“There is simply no precedent for adding such a large piece of fresh equity into the index,” said Datatrek co-founder Nicholas Colas.

In the event that Tesla were to join the ranks of the S&P 500, its value would likely make up more than 1% of the entire index. This could potentially cause massive value fluctuations and short-term equity sell-offs. Money would need to be shifted around in order to fund Tesla’s stake in the index.

The primary cause of this hypothetical volatility is the fact that Tesla’s profitability is not derived from the actual selling of electric cars, but from selling Automotive Regulatory Credits to automotive companies who don’t meet vehicle emission standards. The sale of these credits is essentially pure profit for Tesla, since they incur no costs in doling them out.

“This puts the S&P committee in charge of adding names to the 500 in a real bind, because while to the letter of their ‘law’ Tesla qualifies for inclusion this is purely due to regulatory arbitrage,” Colas said. He went on to say that a slight downturn in demand for Tesla’s products could immediately put the company in the red, which would, by extension, negatively impact the entire index.

No decisions have yet been reached on whether Tesla will be added to the S&P 500.

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