Ferrari’s market value has surpassed that of Stellantis, the auto group that contains Fiat, which was once the parent of the iconic Italian luxury sports-car maker.
Ferrari has gained 34 percent this year, making it the best-performing stock among European auto manufacturers.
That has sent the market value soaring to 49.2 billion euros ($53.9 billion), overtaking Stellantis’s 47.1 billion euros ($51.48) and making it one of the three biggest companies on the Milan stock exchange.
Demand for luxury sports cars has held up well among Ferrari’s wealthy customers even as it increased prices, a stark contrast to mass automakers losing pricing power as the economy heads for a slowdown.
The stock in many ways is comparable to that of big luxury goods firms in Europe, producing total returns in excess of 500 percent since its spinoff in 2015. During the same period, returns for auto stocks in Europe were about 50 percent, including dividends.
For a growing crowd of investors, the luxury sector is to the European stock market what Big Tech has been to the U.S.: Dominant businesses whose growth holds up even as the economy waxes and wanes.
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Europe’s largest company by market value, making it into the top 10 in the world is a testimony to the trend.
Exor, the Agnelli family holding company, is still the largest investor in both Stellantis and Ferrari, which was separated out from Fiat Chrysler in 2015. Ferrari had a market value of about $10 billion when it was listed in New York in October 2015.
“Ferrari has always been synonymous with luxury, and its multiples also confirm this,” said Vincenzo Longo, a market strategist at IG. “The stock has been outperforming year-to-date and the trend is about comparable to the big luxury names such as LVMH.”
While Ferrari is benefiting from a surge in demand for its luxury cars, Stellantis shares have been under pressure after the company posted disappointing first-quarter sales in Europe on May 3, reflecting a looming downturn in the region driven by inflation and higher interest rates.
Stellantis’s 14 car brands include Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Opel and Chrysler, and its total consolidated shipments last year fell to about 5.78 million vehicles.
The high-premium brand Ferrari sold 13,221 units.
Ferrari’s share price may already reflect some market expectations, however. Ferrari is trading at about 41 times 12-month forward earnings, by far the most expensive car stock in Europe and almost in line with Tesla in the U.S.
“We thought we were covered for a while by setting estimates straight above guidance at the start of the year, but the earnings power of Ferrari keeps accelerating,” Jefferies analysts including Philippe Houchois wrote in a note on Monday, raising their estimates and price target on the stock to 250 euros.