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Tesla shares plunge 12%, hemorrhage $126 billion in market value in single session

Tesla Inc. wiped off $126 billion from its valuation in a single session Tuesday with the stock down 12.2 percent to $876.42 on investors’ concern that Elon Musk may sell shares to complete his $44 billion takeover of Twitter Inc.

Before the session, the EV maker’s market capitalization was already down nearly $250 billion since April 4, when Musk disclosed that he increased his Twitter stake. That’s a drop of roughly 23 percent. The dollar value of Musk’s 17 percent stake in Tesla has shrunk by about $42 billion, almost double the equity portion he pledged in the Twitter transaction.

Tesla’s stock price is sinking amid a broader selloff in equity markets around the world due to a slower economic expansion and persistent inflation. In addition, investors have fled high-growth companies as the Federal Reserve prepares to embark on a series of significant rate hikes.

But Musk isn’t doing Tesla any favors by providing scant details on how he will cover the $21 billion equity piece that he personally guaranteed. What’s known is that Musk is using Tesla shares as collateral in the transaction. That has led to investors worry that the Tesla CEO may sell some of his stake to fund the Twitter acquisition.

Those concerns are “causing a bear festival in the name,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said.

“Tesla has three strikes against it today,” said Arthur Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities Corp. “Apart from the worries about a share sale and a wider selloff in growth stocks, Tesla shares are also reflecting some concern that Elon Musk could be spreading himself and/or his bench too thin taking on this new challenge.”

To be sure, Tesla did report blockbuster quarterly results last week. And prior to Tuesday, its shares were the best performers among the high-profile growth stocks this year.

Still, the risks to Tesla’s stock price remain as the uncertainty surrounding the shares continues.

“Musk is taking a good deal of risk by using Tesla shares as collateral,” AJ Bell’s Russ Mould said,. “If the electric carmaker’s shares were to unexpectedly crater, that could create a lot of discomfort.”

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