Tesla just had its worst week in 20 months after Elon Musk sold $5.7 billion worth of shares

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SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk gestures during a conversation at the E3 gaming convention in Los Angeles, June 13, 2019.
Mike Blake | Reuters

Shares of Tesla declined 15.4% for the week after CEO Elon Musk commenced with his plans to sell a huge block of his holdings this week.

It marks Tesla’s worst one-week performance in 20 months. It’s also the stock’s worst week ever excluding declines that occurred in February and March 2020 — as the coronavirus pandemic emerged in the U.S., roiling markets.

Tesla closed down 2.8% on Friday.

Musk — who still owns more than 167 million shares of Tesla, according to financial filings out Friday morning — sold stock worth around $5.7 billion this week.

Musk sold shares in part to satisfy tax obligations related to an exercise of stock options. Before his sale plan was made public, Musk asked his 62.5 million Twitter followers to vote in an informal poll, telling them their vote would determine the future of his Tesla holdings. This week’s filings reveal he knew some of his shares were slated for sale this week.

Tesla shares are still up around 46% year to date following a record closing price of $1,229.91 on Nov. 4, 2021.

By comparison, Ford shares are up around 120%, General Motors shares are up around 51% and Volkswagen AG shares have risen around 66% year-to-date.

The slump in Tesla’s stock price followed a sell-off, and coincided with a record-breaking IPO in autos for Rivian, a newer maker of fully electric pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.

Shares of Rivian closed rose 5.6% on Friday. It’s up around 66.6% since its debut on Wednesday.

Rivian raised around $12 billion in its market debut Wednesday, making its IPO the largest in the world this year so far. Rivian now ranks the second most valuable car manufacturer in the U.S. behind Tesla, though it expects to record less than $1 million in sales for the third quarter.

In financial filings, Rivian said that it has 55,400 preorders for its R1S SUV and R1T pickup truck, plus a contract to build 100,000 electric delivery vans for Amazon by 2030.

Musk responded to Rivian’s IPO success on Twitter saying:

“I hope they’re able to achieve high production & breakeven cash flow. That is the true test. There have been hundreds of automotive startups, both electric & combustion, but Tesla is only American carmaker to reach high volume production & positive cash flow in past 100 years.”

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