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Tesla’s stock price surged to its highest level in weeks early Monday as investors cheered the electric-car maker’s record quarterly sales. Shares in the Elon Musk-led company bounced 7.2 percent to $709.75 in premarket trading as of 8:03 a.m. after it released expectation-beating first-quarter delivery numbers while the market was closed on Friday. The Silicon Valley automaker said it delivered 184,800 cars from January through March — more than double the number from the same quarter last year and well ahead of Wall Street’s estimates for 168,000. The strong figure helped put Tesla shares on pace to reach their highest level in roughly three weeks on Monday. The stock — whose value has surged more than sevenfold over the past year — last traded above $700 on March 17. The exterior of the Tesla Assembly Plant in Tilburg, Netherlands seen on March 29, 2021.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Monday’s movement is likely to boost the fortune of Musk, the Tesla “Technoking” who was worth $171 billion as of Sunday — making him the world’s second-richest person behind Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. The deliveries beat prompted at least three Wall Street brokerages to raise their price targets for Tesla
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits plunged last week to its lowest level since the start of the coronavirus crisis, the feds said Thursday. The latest batch of 576,000 initial jobless claims brought the total for the COVID-19 pandemic to roughly 79.6 million — a figure equivalent to nearly half the nation’s workforce. But last week saw the fewest number of new filings since March 14 of last year, just before the deadly virus sent claims soaring to record highs. Initial claims fell from the prior week’s revised total of 769,000 and well outpaced economists’ expectations for 700,000 — a welcome movement after two consecutive increases even amid loosening lockdowns and accelerating vaccinations. The unexpectedly positive report followed other signs that the US economy market is healing from the crisis, such as a 9.8 percent jump in retail sales and the addition of 916,000 jobs in March. “Massive job gains will put downward pressures on layoffs,” Bloomberg economist Eliza Winger said. “Still, the return to pre-pandemic levels will take some time.” While vaccines and business reopenings have created optimism about the nation’s recovery from the pandemic-fueled downturn, new jobless claims stubbornly hovered above the pre-COVID record of 695,000 for