Tesla shares plunged after Elon Musk said the electric-car maker’s stock is too high in a stream of tweets reminiscent of the posts that securities regulators sued him over in 2018.
The chief executive officer posted more than a dozen times in a span of less than a 75 minutes Friday, claiming he’s selling “almost all” of his physical possessions and won’t own a house.
He also renewed his call for reopening the economy.
Hours later, Tesla’s head of human resources for North America told employees that furloughs will be extended at least another week.
The carmaker’s shares fell 10% to close at $701.32.
He railed against shutdown orders aimed at containing the coronavirus, telling analysts he was worried about not being allowed to reopen the company’s assembly plant in Fremont, California. He compared shelter-in-place measures with forcible imprisonment.
“Musk is frustrated, and he has a pattern when he’s under pressure to turn to Twitter,” Gene Munster, a managing partner at Loup Ventures, said by phone.
“It’s his form of therapy. But he also has an agenda, which is to get the Fremont factory back open.”
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Tesla’s environmental, health, and safety team has been working “non-stop” on procedures to facilitate the return to work, Valerie Capers Workman, the North American human-resources chief, said in an email to staff seen by Bloomberg News. San Francisco Bay area counties this week extended their stay-home orders through the end of May.
In December, Musk joked about Tesla’s stock being “so high” when it climbed above $420.
That’s the price at which he said Tesla would go private in 2018, and the US Securities and Exchange Commission said he picked the number to make a marijuana-related joke that would impress his girlfriend.
On Friday, Musk said his girlfriend, the musician Grimes, is now mad at him. They have a baby due on Monday, he wrote.
When asked if he was selling his possessions because he needed cash or was protesting, Musk responded the answer was neither.
He’s long sought to reach Mars with his rocket company, Space Exploration Technologies and is devoting himself to that effort, and to the Earth, he wrote.