Tesla erases $199 billion in worst two-day rout in 14 months

Tesla founder Elon Musk
Elon Musk may have sent Tesla shares tumbling by polling his Twitter followers about whether to sell some of his shares.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Tesla Inc. lost about $199 billion in value during its biggest back-to-back sell-off since September 2020 amid a host of negative news.

The drumbeat of adverse headlines reached a crescendo after founder Elon Musk’s Twitter poll that asked voters over the weekend whether he should sell 10% of his stake in the electric-vehicle company. That was followed by news of his brother Kimbal selling some shares just before the poll. There was also a Business Insider report on Michael Burry, the investor made famous by the movie “The Big Short,” saying Musk may want to sell stocks to cover his personal debts.

“The stock is extremely overvalued from a long-term perspective, and investors are struggling with the valuation,” said Matt Portillo, an analyst at Tudor Pickering. He noted that Musk’s stock-sale poll provided investors “an excuse to pull back a bit.”

The shares tumbled 12% to $1,023.50 on Tuesday after closing at $1162.94 on Monday, down 4.8%.

Despite the latest drop, Tesla is still up 45% this year, and has held above $1 trillion in market capitalization, a key level it hit in late October. Most of those gains came after the company reported strong results and delivery numbers for the third quarter, significantly beating market expectations, and as rental-car company Hertz Global Holdings Inc. placed a big order for Tesla vehicles for its fleet.


Kimbal Musk sold about 15% of his equity stake in Tesla a day before his brother, CEO Elon Musk, publicly proposed his own stock sale, sending shares tumbling.

Nov. 9, 2021

Matthew Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak & Co., said the selloff in Tesla’s shares was part of a normal and healthy pullback. He called it a “reaction to a very overbought condition.”

Chipmaker Nvidia Corp.’s latest push into self-driving cars could have added further pressure on Tesla as the carmaker’s edge over competitors in autonomous driving technology is often cited as a big reason behind its premium multiple.

“The Nvidia autonomous vehicle (AV) technology announcement is a factor in today’s selloff,” said Seth Goldstein, an analyst at Morningstar. Even though Tesla currently has a lead in autonomous vehicles, if Nvidia’s technology works well and “starts appearing in other automakers’ vehicles in model year 2024, then Tesla will face increased competition.”

Burry didn’t immediately respond to a message from Bloomberg News to confirm the reports on the tweet, which currently doesn’t appear on his Twitter feed. Separately, Kimbal Musk disclosed in a filing that he sold 88,500 Tesla shares Nov. 5.