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LIVE MARKETS-Tesla vrooms past VW to become no. 2

* European shares open higher; DAX hits new record peak * Worries over spreading Coronavirus ease * Asian shares up, investors welcome China virus response Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Danilo Masoni. Reach him on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: danilo.masoni.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net TESLA VROOMS PAST VW TO BECOME NO. 2 (1038 GMT) One hundred billion dollars (purposely spelled out) -- that's what Tesla is expected to be worth when U.S. markets open later today, dethroning car behemoth Volkswagen to become the world's second-biggest automaker by market cap. Those figures dwarf carmakers such as GM, Ford and Volkswagen, which have been around since well before the World War II. Tesla shares have skyrocketed in the last few months, rising a whopping 210% since June last year, despite being one of the most shorted stocks in the world. "The rise in the value of Tesla tells us little about the health of the car market (modest in the U.S., weaker in Germany and China), but a lot about investor behaviour and the state of banking," says Mike O'Sullivan, author and ex-CIO at Credit Suisse IWM. "Anyone who thinks the sharply rising price is an indicator of Tesla’s future is mistaken." Tesla's meteoric rise in stock markets comes even as the brain child of Elon Musk is yet to show a profit on an annual basis. With the Fed flooding markets with liquidity, fundamental attributes of a good stock such as earnings, corporate strategy and good governance have taken a back seat. "By October of last year there was a sizeable community of investors sceptical that Tesla would ever become a profitable business. This set of investors had established large ‘short’ positions in Tesla stock. However, as markets rose, they were forced to cover or buy back these short positions, pushing the price ever higher." By 12-month forward sales estimates, Tesla is not even among the top 20 in the world. Here's a quick look at where Tesla stands versus the world's top five by market value (source: Refinitiv): Company 12-month forward sales estimate Toyota $276 billion Tesla $31 billion VW $283 billion Daimler $191 billion BMW $115 billion (Thyagaraju Adinarayan and Danilo Masoni) ***** DID YOU SPOT THE STEALTH STOXX 600 RECORD HIGH? (0959 GMT) Did you spot it? The STOXX 600 very briefly crossed its record of 424.90 points in early trading and reached a new high of... 424.94 points at 0823 GMT. It lasted less than 5 minutes and was only 0.04 points but hey, it's still a new milestone. Talking about new record highs, the DAX has just retreated below the 13,597 milestone as the broader market eased back slightly. Anyhow, have a look: (Julien Ponthus and Danilo Masoni) ***** OPENING SNAPSHOT: NEW PEAK FOR THE DAX - CONFIRMED (0842 GMT) Spreadbetters and early indications from index futures all pointed in the direction of the DAX hitting a new record high at the open. And here you go here's the trade-sensitive index's new all-time peak: The easing fears over the Chinese virus are indeed helping with all major European benchmarks trading up around 0.2-0.5%. Expectations tech could get support from IBM results and the update from ASML didn't prove fully true however. The index is up just 0.2%, weighed down by a 2% slide in Prosus after e-commerce group Naspers sold a stake in its subsidiary, while ASML is also down as its Q1 2020 sales guidance disappointed. Autos have staged a big turnaround in the first minutes of trading. The export heavy sector is now up 1.5% to lead sectoral gainers, completely reversing opening losses that took it to its lowest level since mid-October. Burberry which was indicated up sharply after it edged up its forecast for full-year sales is now down 3%, as opening gains quickly fizzled out. (Danilo Masoni) ***** ON OUR RADAR: DAX RECORD, EARNINGS, TRADE, ITALY (0750 GMT) Easing fears over the new Chinese virus are set to lift European shares at the open with DAX futures pointing to a new record high for the trade-sensitive index as the focus turns towards the earnings season. Tech stocks such as DAX-listed Infineon and SAP could find support after IBM beat expectations and semiconductor equipment maker ASML forecast double digit sales and earnings growth for 2020. A conciliatory tone on trade from Trump could also help. The U.S. President said at Davos he had "very good" talks with the European Union, but added if a deal was not struck, Washington would strongly consider auto tariffs Back to earnings, luxury label Burberry edged up its forecast for full-year sales with traders expecting a jump of as much of 5% at the open while elsewhere updates look more mixed. A big slide in store for Ted Baker after the fashion retailer said its inventory on its balance sheet was overstated by 58 million pounds, more than double its preliminary estimates. Traders see its shares down 20-25%. In M&A, Alstom is seen opening up 2% after a report said Bombardier is in talks to combine rail unit with the French group. Political turbulence in Italy that has widened the country's government bond yield spread versus Germany could put pressure on Italian banks, which have large holdings of sovereign bonds. (Danilo Masoni) ***** QUICK RECOVERY (0634 GMT) Markets have quickly recovered from the scare of possible economic damage from the spreading Coronavirus. It looks that China's response has eased some fears about a global pandemic and after gains in Asian stocks overnight, Europe too is seen on the up this morning. "Given the similarity of the Wuhan pneumonia and SARS in 2003, China and the rest of the world have learned a lesson from SARS," notes Stephen Innes chief market strategist at AxiCorp. "Health agencies are now working much more proactively and transparently to contain the Wuhan pneumonia than SARS," he adds. Financial spreadbetters expect London's FTSE to open 19 points higher at 7,630, Frankfurt's DAX to open 57 points higher at 13,613 and Paris' CAC to open 24 points higher at 6,070. (Danilo Masoni) ***** (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Joice Alves, Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)