Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk’s $3 billion sale of company stock yesterday is “throwing gasoline in the burning fire” as the automaker continues to ride the rough economic waves of 2022.
Last night, Form 4 filings revealed Musk had offloaded roughly $3.6 billion in Tesla stock. The reason for the sale of nearly 22 million shares was not disclosed.
Musk’s ownership stake in Tesla decreased to 13.4 percent, and with the company suffering its worst year on the stock market, many investors are confused about the CEO’s sale.
Ives now pushed out commentary regarding Musk’s most recent sale, calling Musk’s sale of Tesla shares as “throwing gasoline in the burning fire around the Tesla story.”
Ives’ commentary surfaces genuine concerns to the forefront of the Tesla story. While Musk has never been a believer in brands or branding, there is no denying he is the face of Tesla. For the company’s fans, his word is supreme, but it is becoming tougher to remain loyal, according to some of the most notable supporters.
Ives’ note also suggests the sale is likely to fund his Twitter purchase, which is unconfirmed. While some reports have suggested Twitter has lost half of its top 100 advertisers since Musk’s takeover, some who have left the platform temporarily chose to return. Apple is likely the most notable.
However, what has been widely regarded as “Twitter overhang” still seems to affect the stock negatively, and Musk’s stock sale has baffled analysts.
In 2013, Musk said his money was the first in and would be the last out. In April of this year, after several stock sales, Musk said that no further stock sales were planned. He continued to offload shares later down the road, with last night being the first instance since a $3.9 billion sale in early November. In all, Musk has sold Tesla shares on four occasions this year, totaling roughly $19 billion.
On paper, Tesla is still an extremely formidable and strong company. It has been profitable for its shareholders regularly since 2020, it has shown routine growth in vehicle deliveries in every quarter except for one since Q4 2019, and it has plenty of cash on hand. However, the stock has fallen 60.79 percent since the beginning of the year, and it is becoming difficult for some to remain supportive of the company, while others are showing supreme trust in the automaker and its leader.
Just days ago, Musk said Tesla would be great long-term. It may be, but for even the most bullish investors and supporters, the future is becoming hard to see.
Tesla stock was trading at $156.066 at the time of writing.
Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder. I do not hold any other automotive stocks currently.
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