Tesla Inc. shares Friday wrapped up their worst week since 2020, as Chief Executive Elon Musk sold billions in stock and faced a call from a prominent investor to step down from the helm of the electric-vehicle maker.
The decline occurred as Musk sold stock, which he has done repeatedly since November of 2021. Musk disclosed the sale of more than $3.5 billion in Tesla stock late Wednesday, after performing the trades over the three previous trading sessions, when the price declined a cumulative 12.4%. In total, the Tesla CEO has sold $39.3 billion worth of Tesla stock in the past 13 months, according to calculations from Dow Jones Market Data and MarketWatch.
The recent sales have seemed tied to Musk’s acquisition of the social-media platform Twitter, which he bought for roughly $44 billion this year. It is the second time he has sold stock since closing that deal in October.
Musk has reportedly been spending much of his time at Twitter, which seems to have angered some prominent Tesla investors. Leo KoGuan, Tesla’s third-largest individual shareholder, publicly called for a new CEO on Twitter this week, as a chorus of previously boosterish accounts on the service expressed dismay at the stock decline and Musk’s actions.
Bullish analysts have also expressed concerns about Musk’s focus and stock sales. Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, who has an outperform rating and $250 12-month price target on Tesla shares, wrote Thursday that “Musk continues to throw gasoline in the burning fire around the Tesla story by selling more stock and creating Tesla brand deterioration through his actions on Twitter.”
“The nightmare of Musk owning Twitter has been an episode out of the Twilight Zone that never ends and keeps getting worse,” Ives wrote. “In late April Musk said he was done selling Tesla stock, instead the exact opposite has happened and put massive pressure on Tesla shares which have significantly underperformed the market since Musk took over Twitter in late October.”
Tesla shares have now declined 57.4% so far in 2022, as the S&P 500 index SPX,