Happy new high! Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) share price up another 7%

The lithium and tantalum producer’s shares are on fire today…

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The Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS) share price seems to be the gift that just keeps on giving to its shareholders.

As we covered this morning, Pilbara ended up claiming the crown of the S&P/ASX 200 Index‘s (ASX: XJO) best performing share of 2021. Beating out Lynas Rare Earths Ltd (ASX: LYC) and GrainCorp Ltd (ASX: GNC), Pilbara shares gave investors a very pleasing 268% gain last year.

But that gain could just be the start for Pilbara, going by what is happening today. At the time of writing, Pilbara Minerals shares are up a whopping 7.19% at $3.43 a share. That comes after the company hit a new all-time high of $3.50 a share earlier this morning. Its gains over the past 12 months now stand at 295.4%.

So what’s up with Pilbara’s massive appreciation today?

Pilbara share price spikes, should investors thank Tesla?

Well, unfortunately, it’s not entirely clear. There has been no official news or announcements out of Pilbara so far this Tuesday. Or any other official developments to speak of.

However, there is one possible reason why investors are flocking to Pilbara shares today. And that would be Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), the US electric battery and vehicle manufacturer headed by Elon Musk.

Overnight (our time), Tesla shares exploded higher, climbing a hefty 13.53% to US$1,199.78 a share. The catalyst for this explosive move was the company’s fourth-quarter vehicle delivery numbers. As our Fool colleagues over in the US reported this morning, Tesla delivered a record 308,600 vehicles over its fourth quarter, a healthy 71% year-on-year growth rate. That was a significant beat on the 263,000 average analyst forecast.

Now, you might be wondering what Tesla’s vehicle deliveries have to do with Pilbara Minerals. Well, Pilbara is in the business of lithium processing. And lithium happens to be the primary ingredient in the batteries that power Tesla vehicles. It’s possible that Tesla’s delivery numbers overnight have been taken as a huge boost for lithium companies like Pilbara, and are what’s behind this dramatic shift in sentiment for Pilbara shares.

Or it could just be that investors are banking on more of the same from Pilbara after the company’s stellar 2021. Whatever the reason, this company has had one of the best starts to 2022 on the ASX boards thus far. No doubt shareholders will be hoping that Pilbara keeps it coming.

At the current Pilbara Minerals share price, this ASX 200 lithium company has a market capitalisation of $10.3 billion.

Should you invest $1,000 in Pilbara Minerals right now?

Before you consider Pilbara Minerals, you'll want to hear this.

Motley Fool Investing expert Scott Phillips just revealed what he believes are the 5 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Pilbara Minerals wasn't one of them.

The online investing service he’s run for over a decade, Motley Fool Share Advisor, has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.* And right now, Scott thinks there are 5 stocks that are better buys.

*Returns as of January 13th 2022

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen owns Tesla. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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