Shares of Tesla fell sharply for a second consecutive day, dropping 12 percent Tuesday, in a continuing shakeout after Elon Musk, the company’s founder, suggested on Twitter that he would sell 10 percent of his stake in Tesla.
Tuesday’s losses put the stock down more than 16 percent this week, nearly erasing the series of gains it had seen in the two weeks after Tesla’s market value exceeded $1 trillion for the first time. Since Friday’s close, Tesla has shed about $200 billion in market valuation, though it remained just above the $1 trillion threshold as of the close of trading on Tuesday.
On Saturday, Mr. Musk posted a poll to Twitter asking if he should sell some of his Tesla shares, saying that he would “abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes.” About 58 percent of respondents voted for him to sell shares.
Mr. Musk owns 17 percent of Tesla’s shares, a stake worth about $200 billion at the time he tweeted the poll. His weekend tweets were a pledge to sell about $20 billion of the stock.
Regardless of the Twitter poll, Mr. Musk may soon have needed to sell a big chunk of his shares anyway, Stephen Gandel reports for The New York Times’s DealBook. That’s because Mr. Musk holds nearly 23 million stock options that have vested and will expire in August 2022.
Most stock grants allow executives to avoid paying taxes for years, and perhaps forever, as long as they don’t sell the shares they get from converting the option. But the structure of Mr. Musk’s options means that they might not entirely qualify for the preferential tax treatment, and he could owe more than $10 billion in taxes.
Separately, on Monday Mr. Musk’s brother, Kimbal Musk, disclosed in a regulatory filing that he had sold about $109 million worth of shares in Tesla on Friday.
Here’s what else is happening in markets:
The S&P 500 fell 0.4 percent, its first daily decline after eight straight days of gains.
Oil prices jumped, with West Texas Intermediate crude gaining 2.7 percent to $84.15 a barrel.
Yields on government bonds were lower, with the yield on 10-year Treasury notes down five basis points, to 1.46 percent.