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Price of Tesla shares declines as Elon Musk sells of $1.2 billion worth of stock

By Jake Thomas
1/5
Price of Tesla shares declines as Elon Musk sells of $1.2 billion worth of stock
Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk announced in October the company would move its headquarters from Silicon Valley near San Francisco to Austin. The price of Tesla stock dropped Friday as Musk sold off millions of his shares in the company. Photo courtesy of Tesla

Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold off over a million of his shares of the electric car company worth $1.2 billion.

The sale was reported in a filing Friday with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission showing an average share price of $1,032. The sale comes a week after Musk, the world's richest man, polled his followers on Twitter in response to a proposal by congressional Democrats to tax investments by billionaires.

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"Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock," the famously irreverent CEO said in the tweet to his over 60 million followers.

Fifty-eight percent said he should sell. Within days, Tesla saw its stock price fall by 12%.

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The sales still sent Tesla's stock price declining by 15.4% for the week, reports CNBC. The drop makes it the company's worst one-week stock performance, not counting the sharp declines markets saw early during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the company's shares remain up 46% from a year ago.

Over the course of the week, Musk sold a total 6.4 million of his shares in the company, altogether valued at $6.9 billion, reports CNN. However, CNN reports that Musk more likely made the sale because of a nearly $10 billion tax bill he faces related to an exercise of stock options. Musk remains Tesla's largest shareholder and the sale represents less than 4% of the shares he holds directly.

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Musk previously said in September that he would sell off stock in the fourth quarter, driving his marginal tax rate to over 50%, reports CNBC.

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Those sales impacted the company's share price. Tesla stock declined 15.4% for the week, marking the company's worst one-week performance in 20 months. It was also the worst week for Tesla stock ever, excluding declines in February and March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic sent markets tumbling.

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

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