THE GOOD NEWS this past week for people holding shares of Tesla, Inc., (TSLA on the Nasdaq) was that the car company’s CEO, Elon Musk, seemed to enter a new and more boring phase of his ongoing, publicly humiliating effort to destroy Twitter. Beyond introducing a new doodad that tells everyone how many people have seen each tweet—giving already skittish advertisers a steady readout of exactly how disengaged the site’s users are—the would-be visionary appeared to be running out of even dumb visions to chase after. It was possible to go several hours in a row without necessarily being reminded that the world’s highest-valued automobile company is being run by a crazed dilettante whose decisions are guided by ignorance and resentment.
However! If the waves of implicit bad news about Tesla began to subside, they were swamped by waves of explicitly bad news about Tesla. The company suspended work at its most productive auto factory, in Shanghai; demand for its cars fell enough that it was offering would-be end-of-year shoppers a $7,500 discount; the price of used Teslas dropped sharply. Bloomberg summarized the company’s crumbling position earlier today:
The electric-vehicle maker’s market valuation has shrunk to roughly $357 billion, below that of Walmart Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Nvidia Corp. This latest selloff will cost Tesla its position among the 10-highest valued companies in the S&P 500 Index, a distinction it has held since joining the benchmark in December 2020.
Last Tuesday, after another round of humiliating Musk antics, TSLA closed at $137.80 a share, its lowest end-of-day price in more than two years. Today, coming back from the Christmas trading break, it plunged out of the $120s, crashed all the way through the $110s, and made it down to $109.10 before the day was over.
The $28.70 that Tesla lost in the last seven days would have been enough to buy any of the following:
• 7 rubber tires, with innertubes, for three- or four-wheeled electric mobility scooters (260 millimeter diameter)
• 2 t-shirts featuring a combined Punisher logo / deer skull (white, size M)
• 2 graphic motivational posters with a stylized motto by Benjamin Disraeli (“Never Complain, Never Explain”)
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