(Reuters) -Tesla Inc’s shares slipped in early trading on Monday, adding to a week of heavy losses after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk offloaded a combined $6.9 billion worth of shares in the world’s most valuable car maker.
If its shares drop below $995.75, then Tesla’s market value would slip below $1 trillion, a milestone it breached late last month after securing its biggest-ever order from car rental firm Hertz.
On Sunday, the world’s richest person got into a spat with Bernie Sanders after the U.S. senator demanded the wealthy pay their “fair share” of taxes.
“Tesla shares have been sinking post the sale based on a Twitter poll last week. And Musk’s Sunday tweet deriding a senior politician may add pressure on the stock in the coming weeks,” said Kunal Sawhney, CEO of equity research firm Kalkine Group.
“By offloading shares worth billions of dollars, Elon Musk is likely to accrue a tax bill of around $15 billion.”
Musk sold 6.36 million Tesla shares last week and now needs to offload about 10 million more to fulfill his pledge to sell 10% of his holdings in the electric-vehicle maker.
CHIP SUPPLY CONSTRAINTS
Musk on Saturday asked a Twitter user not to "read too much into" PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta's comments about expecting its first delivery of Tesla Semi trucks in the fourth quarter.
“As mentioned publicly, Tesla is constrained by chip supply short-term & cell supply long-term,” Musk tweeted. “Not possible to produce additional vehicles in volume until both constraints are addressed.”
Tesla has weathered the pandemic and the global supply-chain crisis better than rivals, posting record revenue for the fifth consecutive quarter.
Meanwhile, "The Big Short" investor Michael Burry took aim at Musk again, tweeting, "@elonmusk borrowed against 88.3 million shares, sold all his mansions, moved to Texas, and is asking @BernieSanders whether he should sell more stock. He doesn't need cash. He just wants to sell $TSLA."
Tesla’s January and February 2022 calls at a strike price of $900 were among the top three heavily traded options contracts, according to Refinitiv data on Friday, suggesting some traders were assuming more short-term weakness in the stock.
Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru, Additional reporting by Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru and Saikat Chatterjee in London; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Anil D’Silva