Ford’s market cap tops $100 billion for first time ever

Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Farley walks to speak at a news conference at the Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan, September 17, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

DETROIT – Ford Motor’s market value topped $100 billion for the first time ever as the automaker’s stock hit a new 52-week high Thursday.

The company’s shares jumped Thursday by as much as 5.7% to $25.87, hitting another 20-plus-year high, before closing at $25.02 a share, up 2.3%. Its market value dropped to $99.99 billion.

The gains have been fueled by Ford’s plans to increase production of electric vehicles, including the Mustang Mach-E crossover and an upcoming electric version of its bestselling F-150 pickup that’s due out this spring. The efforts are part of a Ford+ turnaround plan led by CEO Jim Farley, who took over the helm in October 2020.

Ford’s now worth more than crosstown rival General Motors, at about $90 billion, as well as electric vehicle start-up Rivian Automotive, at $72 billion, which has failed to sustain gains following a blockbuster IPO in November. Ford continues to significantly trail Tesla, which has a market cap of more than $1 trillion.

The automaker is rated overweight with a price target of $21.83 a share, according to an average of 22 analysts compiled by FactSet. But not all Wall Street analysts haven’t completely bought into Ford’s turnaround.

“The stock market’s attraction to the Ford EV story continues to take us by surprise,” Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas told investors in a Thursday note called “Ford Market Cap Crosses $100bn: What’s In the Price?”

Morgan Stanley’s price target for Ford is $12 a share. Its bull case for the stock is $25 a share, according to Jonas.

“Ford’s share price movement is impressive and management deserve credit for changing the strategic narrative, triggering a re-rating,” Jonas said. “However, at this juncture, we believe the risks facing Ford and the sector are rising faster than the opportunity.”

Jonas cited concerns involving the auto industry’s historically cyclical nature returning, challenges in scaling EV production and more competitive and appealing EVs entering the market against Ford.

– CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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(With inputs from CNBC)