Elon Musk was the third-richest person in the world — at least for a moment.

Musk passed Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg Monday as shares of Tesla continued their unrelenting rally after undergoing a forward stock split. Monday, Musk was worth $111.9 billion compared with $111.2 billion for Zuckerberg, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which is updated at the end of each market day.

But by Thursday, Musk’s value was at $96.2 billion, and Zuckerberg’s was still at $110 billion.

Musk has seen a meteoric rise in his wealth, with his net worth growing by $76.1 billion this year as Tesla shares surged more than 475 percent. Also helpful: an audacious pay package — the largest corporate pay deal ever struck between a chief executive officer and a board of directors — that could yield him more than $50 billion if all goals are met.

Tesla, a favorite among amateur investors on online trading firm Robinhood Financial, has been one of the largest beneficiaries of the boom in retail investing during pandemic lockdowns. At one point last month, almost 40,000 Robinhood accounts added Tesla shares during a single four-hour span. And the trend isn’t limited to the U.S.: South Korean retail investors have piled into Tesla this year and hold about a 1 percent stake in the American automaker.

Tesla’s $454 billion market value now exceeds that of retail behemoth Walmart Inc., the largest company in the U.S. by revenue.

Last week, Musk, 49, joined Zuckerberg, Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates in the rarefied centibillionaire club as tech stocks rose.

The heady pace of wealth accumulation in recent months is in stark contrast to the state of the global economy. Growth has slumped sharply since the pandemic began with companies laying off millions of workers and consumer demand cratering. The brunt of economic pain has been borne by young and lower-wage workers, whose jobs are typically more vulnerable to COVID-related layoffs.

The rising income inequality has provoked sharp responses from many progressive politicians and critics on the left. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders this month introduced legislation to tax “extreme wealth gains” during the pandemic.

— Bloomberg News