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Stock Tesla

Tesla sets 5-1 stock split and its high-flying stock soars again – Yahoo Finance

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FILE PHOTO: The Tesla logo is seen on a car in Los Angeles

By Noel Randewich and Munsif Vengattil

(Reuters) – Tesla Inc on Tuesday announced a five-for-one stock split, sending the electric carmaker’s recently high-flying shares up 7% in extended trade.

Tesla’s stock, which traded at $1,475 after the announcement, is among the highest priced on Wall Street, and the Palo Alto, California-based company said in a press release it was looking to make its shares more accessible to employees and investors.

Tesla’s stock has surged over 200% this year, while shares of General Motors and Ford Motor declined on fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Stock splits are a way for companies to make shares more accessible to retail investors, potentially attracting individual investors who make small trades. However, brokerages increasingly let customers buy parts of shares, making the benefit of share splits less clear than in the past.

Tesla said stock holders of record on Aug. 21 would receive four additional shares after the close of trading on Aug. 28, with the stock trading on a split-adjusted basis beginning Aug. 31.

Tesla’s stock split follows a four-for-one split announced by Apple Inc in late July, the iPhone maker’s first stock split since 2014.

Stock splits have become rare on Wall Street in recent years, with just three S&P 500 components announcing splits in 2020, compared with an average of 10 a year over the past decade, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Tesla in July posted a second-quarter profit as cost cuts and strong deliveries helped offset coronavirus-related factory shutdowns, clearing a hurdle that could lead to the carmaker’s inclusion in the S&P 500 index.

While many institutional investors have avoided Tesla’s stock in recent years due to a lack of consistent profitability, the company has a strong following among individual investors.

Over the past 30 days, Tesla was second only to Apple as the most popular stock on the Robinhood trading app, according to Robintrack, a website that tracks Robinhood holdings.

Tesla’s stock split should not affect S&P Dow Jones Indices’ potential decision to add the company to the S&P 500, which is weighted by companies’ overall stock market values.

The share split will not make Tesla any less expensive in terms of actual earnings it delivers to investors. The stock currently trades at 112 times expected earnings over the next 12 months, according to Refinitiv. By comparison, GM is valued at eight times expected earnings, and Ford at 45 times expected earnings.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru and Noel Randewich in Oakland; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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earnings Tesla

Tesla’s prayer for profit, earnings tests for Intel and Microsoft highlight first big week of coronavirus-tainted earnings – MarketWatch

Earnings Watch

Earnings Watch: S&P 500 profits have plunged 47% so far this reporting season, and it isn’t expected to get much better

This earnings reporting season is so far living up to expectations that it will be the worst since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, but a number of big names could offer some better news in the week ahead.

Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
+0.01%
,
Microsoft Corp.
MSFT,
-0.51%
,
and Intel Corp.
INTC,
+1.45%

highlight a busy slate of earnings reports as the pace picks up. Eight Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-0.23%

components are set to deliver numbers in the coming week, along with 80 members of the S&P 500 index
SPX,
+0.28%
.

So far, the results have been dismal. S&P 500 components have posted a 47.4% decline in second-quarter profits with nearly 9% of reports issued. Analysts model a 44% earnings decline for the index as a whole, taking into account already-reported results and estimates for the rest. That would mark the sharpest year-over-year dip in earnings since the fourth quarter of 2008, when profits plunged 70%.

See more: S&P 500 earnings set to plunge as the coronavirus batters all sectors — with Wall Street counting on a bounce that may not come

Tech giants Intel and Microsoft are on a better trajectory as both likely benefited from stay-home trends during the coronavirus pandemic that drove greater demand for remote-work services and equipment and are expected to eke out per-share earnings growth while posting slight dips in net income. Positive surprises could help the S&P 500’s aggregate performance, since larger companies are more heavily weighed in the index. Microsoft reports results Wednesday afternoon and Intel follows a day later.

Tesla is expected to show red ink for the second quarter, according to FactSet estimates, though analysts predict a narrower loss than a year ago. Some are still holding out hope that the company can post a surprise GAAP profit and help land Tesla in the S&P 500, which requires four straight quarters of profitability for entry; Tesla has been profitable the past three quarters.

Other key names in the week to come include battered airlines United Airlines Holdings Inc.
UAL,
-1.65%

and Southwest Airlines Co.
LUV,
-0.23%
,
social-media players Twitter Inc.
TWTR,
+1.50%

and Snap Inc.
SNAP,
+2.67%
,
as well as Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.
CMG,
+0.59%

Here are some themes to watch.

Tesla’s next test

Tesla crushed second-quarter delivery expectations, providing more ammunition to the stock’s strong 2020 rally, and now the company faces another test as it reveals the financial impact of COVID-19 on its business.

Read: Tesla’s earnings on tap next week. Will a loss end its blowout stock rally?

The upbeat delivery numbers suggest that consensus financial forecasts might be too conservative, Barclays analyst Brian Johnson wrote. He was already predicting a $4.2 million GAAP profit before the delivery announcement and brought his estimate up to $42 million since. The FactSet consensus currently calls for a $53 million loss.

Phone calls

AT&T Inc.
T,
-0.46%

and Verizon Communications Inc.
VZ,
+0.93%

are set to show how smartphone-buying trends have evolved during the pandemic. Both companies saw equipment revenue tank toward the end of the March quarter as stores closed due to COVID-19, but analysts are optimistic that things are picking back up now that social-distancing restrictions have eased.

Even with these challenges, the wireless business should remain a bright spot for AT&T, which is dealing with film production halts for its Warner Bros. business, advertising weakness for its media channels, and an avalanche of cord-cutting at DirecTV. AT&T’s numbers are due up Thursday morning, followed by Verizon the next day.

Flight risk

After Delta Air Lines Inc.
DAL,
-0.77%

delivered a $5.72 billion loss for the June quarter and warned that a “sustainable recovery” seems to be more than two years away, United and Southwest are on deck.

United’s comments will be especially worth watching for as Cowen & Co.’s Helane Becker said that the company has been “the most forthcoming with information regarding the reality of the pandemic” and “more right than wrong” during the crisis. She’ll be looking for information on planned staff reductions and capacity changes. “United has been the most somber about the situation and their capacity plans have mimicked that,” Becker said. Earnings are due out Tuesday afternoon with a call the following morning.

For Southwest on Thursday morning, Becker is interested to see whether the company will use the downturn as an opportunity to gain share as it has in the past.

Social studies

Twitter is set to face investors Thursday morning, just more than a week after the company suffered a troubling security breach that allowed hackers access to numerous prominent Twitter accounts for what seemed to be a bitcoin scam. The company is still investigating the incident and management is sure to face tough questions about Twitter’s privacy and security mechanisms. Stifel’s John Egbert expects Twitter to dial up its security spending even more.

Twitter and Snap should shed light on the state of the ad market during the pandemic. Egbert predicts that Snap’s revenue growth decelerated from the first quarter to the second quarter, but he’s still looking for double-digit ad growth relative to a year ago given the “growing appetite” for Snap’s direct-response ads. Snap reports Tuesday afternoon, followed by Twitter on Thursday morning.

Food for thought

As some states take a tougher stance on indoor dining, Chipotle will look to emphasize its digital prowess Wednesday afternoon. Third-party data on app downloads and loyalty sign-ups suggest a “longer-term uptick in share,” wrote Bank of America’s Gregory Francfort. He said the company seems to be “managing through COVID better than we expected” though he still worries about the economics of delivery.

A whole week of the Dow

There’s at least one Dow component on the schedule every day in the week ahead, starting with International Business Machines Corp.
IBM,
+0.88%

Monday afternoon, Coca-Cola Co.
KO,
+1.45%

Tuesday morning, and Microsoft on Wednesday afternoon. Travelers Cos. Inc.
TRV,
-1.11%

and Dow Inc.
DOW,
-0.36%

follow Thursday morning, with Intel that afternoon, and American Express Co.
AXP,
-1.18%

and Verizon round out the week Friday morning.

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congratulates Tesla

Elon Musk congratulates Tesla employees ahead of Q2 deliveries report – CNBC

Vehicles pass the Tesla Inc. assembly plant in Fremont, California, U.S., on Monday, May 11, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Around 11:00 a.m. California time on Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent out an e-mail congratulating his tens of thousands of employees.

“Just amazing how well you executed, especially in such difficult times. I am so proud to work with you!” read the email in its entirety.

Tesla is expected to report its second quarter vehicle delivery and production numbers after the bell on Thursday, and Musk’s Wednesday email suggests that Tesla hit its goals. It follows Musk’s exhortation earlier in the week to “go all out” as “breaking even is looking super tight.”

According to a consensus of analysts surveyed by FactSet, as of July 1, Wall Street expects Tesla to deliver 72,000 vehicles for the period. (Estimates range from 39,000 to 86,000 units expected.) 

Auto sales slumped during the second quarter after Covid-19 outbreaks led to health restrictions on households and businesses, mass layoffs and wage cuts. 

Tesla had to close its main U.S. car plant in Fremont, California, for several weeks due to health restrictions. Musk defied and sued regulators in Alameda County over their orders and returned to full operations a few days before getting official clearance to do so.

To revitalize demand, Tesla cut prices of its electric vehicles during Q2 by as much as 6% in North America. It also made pricing changes in China, where its Shanghai plant came back online relatively quickly after a health-related shutdown.

Throughout the last month of the quarter, Musk has sent several “Everybody” e-mails, which have promptly leaked to press, where shareholders could easily get a sense of his messaging.

For example, in early June, Musk sent out a pair of “Everybody” e-mails, obtained by CNBC and others, in which he boasted about a glowing Model Y review in the Wall Street Journal and urged employees to stay motivated amid Model Y production and delivery problems.

He said, in another one of the emails: “It is extremely important for us to ramp up Model Y production and minimize rectification needs.” He added, “We are doing reasonably well with S, X, and 3, but there are production and supply chain ramp challenges with Model Y, as is always the case with new products.” 

Tesla shares set new records Wednesday, giving the company a valuation of $208 billion and making it the most valued car company, ahead of Toyota.

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Overtakes Tesla

Tesla Overtakes Exxon’s Market Value in Symbolic Energy Shift – Yahoo Finance

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(Bloomberg) — Tesla Inc.’s market value has surpassed Exxon Mobil Corp.’s in a sign that investors are increasingly betting on a global energy transition away from fossil fuels.

Elon Musk’s Tesla, now at $201 billion in market capitalization, is surging on the billionaire’s optimism that his company can avoid a second-quarter loss. Exxon, which dropped to $185 billion, is reeling from the worst crude-price crash in history. The largest oil company in the Western Hemisphere is preparing to cut some of its U.S. workforce.

Tesla also is on the verge of passing Toyota Motor Corp. to become the most valuable automaker in the world by market capitalization. The company topped Boeing Co. in March to become the most valuable industrial company in the U.S. and reached the No. 2 spot among car manufacturers in January by passing Volkswagen AG.

Exxon is the world’s second-biggest energy company after Saudi Aramco went public late last year. But even the status of Saudi Aramco as the world’s most-valuable company is in danger now after Apple Inc. reduced the valuation gap to $150 billion, down from about $750 billion at the time of the initial public offering of the Saudi state-controlled oil giant six months ago.

bloomberg.com” data-reactid=”32″ type=”text”>For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

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Model Tesla

Tesla Model 3 becomes best-selling car in California, first electric to top the list – Fox News

City unveils gigantic Elon Musk statue in bid to lure Tesla to town

Tulsa, Oklahoma, has given its landmark 75-foot-tall Golden Driller statue an extreme makeover. The Tesla Owners of Oklahoma organized the redesign of the statue to resemble the likeness of Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. The stunt is all a part of Tulsa’s attempt to be selected as the site for Tesla’s second U.S. automotive manufacturing facility.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk may have had his issues with California’s government officials over their handling of the coronavirus crisis, but things couldn’t have been better with the state’s car buyers early this year.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

According to the California New Car Dealers Association, the Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling vehicle in the state during the first quarter of 2018, marking the first time an electric car topped the list.

Data collected by the association found that 18,853 Model 3s were registered during the period, with the Honda Civic a close second at 18,001. The Toyota Camry, Toyota Rav4 and Honda Accord rounded out the top five. Tesla does not release sales results for individual states and countries, but said it delivered a combined 76,200 of the Model 3 and related Model Y utility vehicle globally during the first three months of the year.

ELON MUSK SAYS FULL-SELF DRIVING CAPABILITY WILL BE WORTH $100,000

Tesla, which only sells three models, also gained market share, jumping from 4.0 to 4.6 percent, while Toyota remained in first with 17 percent, ahead of Honda at 11.1 percent.

Behind the Model 3, the best selling vehicles from American brands were the Ford F-Series (12,981), Chevrolet Silverado (11,896), and Ram (11,858) pickups.

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going Tesla

Tesla’s next factory is going to be in Austin, Texas and it’s going to happen quickly – Electrek

A source familiar with the matter told Electrek that Tesla has chosen Austin, Texas for its next factory and it’s going to happen quickly.

The race to secure Tesla’s next factory is apparently over.

According to a reliable source familiar with the matter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is set on bringing the next Tesla Gigafactory, or now Terafactory, to Austin, Texas, or at least close to the city.

The people familiar with the project said that Musk has tasked the engineering team working at Gigafactory Nevada to start the process for the new factory, which is expected to make the Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup truck and the Model Y.

Tesla’s CEO also reportedly wants to move extremely fast.

We are told that the decision for the site is not set in stone since Tesla was apparently given a few options in the greater Austin area, but Musk is said to want to start construction extremely soon and aims to have Model Y vehicles coming out of the plant by the end of the year.

It would be an even more aggressive timeline than Gigafactory Shanghai.

However, we are told that Tesla would aim to only have a general assembly line ready on that timeline and it would keep building the factory around the first phase in order to increase production capacity of different parts next year.

By late next year, the new Texas factory would be producing Tesla’s new Cybertruck electric pickup.

Tesla already has some connections to Austin, Texas.

When Tesla started building a team of chip engineers for its Autopilot hardware 3.0, it hired several engineers from AMD’s corporate offices in Austin and Tesla decided to open an office there for its Autopilot hardware engineers.

Recently, Musk has been talking about moving Tesla’s California operations to Nevada and/or Texas due to the automaker’s difficulties working with the local government to reopen the Fremont factory, where it currently produces most of its vehicles.

This project is not directly related to that announcement.

We are talking here about Tesla’s previously announced plans to build a ‘Cybertruck Gigafactory’ in “central US”.

Update: After we published this report, three different publications happened to “coincidently” report, each based on a single anonymous source, that Tesla was in talks with Austin and Tulsa last week:

This is so funny. All 3 publications get the same anon source saying the same vague thing just an hour after my report. @tesla this is sloppy work to try to muddy my report. https://t.co/Ilq7Wj1pdq

— Fred Lambert (@FredericLambert) May 15, 2020

Electrek’s Take

I think most people won’t be surprised by the news. Elon seems to have been leaning toward Texas for a while now.

But the timeline was really surprising to me.

This source has been really reliable in the past and they seem adamant that Tesla is pushing to have cars coming out of the factory by December, which just sounds crazy.

Although we are talking about just general assembly here so it’s not like Gigafactory Shanghai, which was built on a quick timeline too, though not as aggressive as this.

Tesla had Gigafactory Shanghai producing cars within a year after starting construction, but it was also producing the body of the vehicles and for now, it sounds like the bodies of the Model Y vehicles coming out of the new Texas factory would be produced in Fremont.

Therefore, I don’t think it’s impossible, but like it’s often the case with Tesla, the timeline is extremely aggressive.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

We will try to keep you updated on Tesla’s plans for the new factory. If you know anything about it, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at Fred@electrek.co, via Wickr: Fredev, or through my social media: Twitter and Instagram.

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You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.

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courted Tesla

Elon Musk and Tesla are being courted by South Carolina’s U.S. Rep. William Timmons – Greenville News

, Greenville News
Published 8:58 a.m. ET May 14, 2020

CLOSE

U.S. Rep. William Timmons is urging Tesla CEO Elon Musk to move his California-based electric carmaker to South Carolina.

“South Carolina is a business-friendly state with the workforce and infrastructure already in place for large-scale automotive manufacturing,” Timmons said in a letter sent to Musk this week. “It also rejects socialism and embraces capitalism in all forms.”

Timmons is a first-term Republican who represents a district that covers most of Greenville and Spartanburg counties. He reached out to Musk after a standoff between the businessman and California officials over reopening Tesla’s 10,000-employee production plant in Freemont, California.

In his letter, Timmons pointed out that Upstate South Carolina is already home to a BMW plant.

President Donald Trump weighed in on the dispute between California officials and Tesla in a post on his Twitter account.

California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW. It can be done Fast & Safely!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2020

According to published reports, California officials have agreed to allow the Tesla plant to reopen on Monday under certain conditions.

Follow Kirk Brown on Twitter @KirkBrown_AIM

Read or Share this story: https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/2020/05/14/tesla-elon-musk-being-courted-move-south-carolina-william-timmons/5189221002/

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fully Tesla

Tesla to fully reopen Nevada ‘gigafactory’: report – MarketWatch

Tesla Inc.
TSLA,
-0.23%

is fully reopening its battery “gigafactory” in Nevada, The Verge reported Tuesday night. Citing an email to employees, The Verge reported Tesla workers at the plant east of Reno are being given back-to-work dates, and those not comfortable returning to work under the circumstances will be put on unpaid leave, and thus ineligible for unemployment benefits. Nevada has allowed some businesses to reopen if they take protective measures, but it was unclear if the factory had been given the green light by officials. Tesla reopened its auto factory in Fremont, Calif., on Monday in defiance of local regulations, and CEO Elon Musk has been an outspoken opponent of stay-at-home rules intended to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, daring local authorities to arrest him.

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Tesla threatens

Elon Musk threatens to move Tesla out of California – The Verge

After Alameda County health officials cautioned Tesla against reopening its California car factory yesterday, CEO Elon Musk tweeted today that the company would sue the county and move its headquarters out of state.

“Tesla is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately,” Musk said on Twitter. “The unelected & ignorant ‘interim Health Officer’ of Alameda is acting contrary to the Governor, the President, our Constitutional freedoms & just plain common sense!”

Musk has been a vocal critic of coronavirus lockdowns, saying at the company’s April 29th earnings call that such restrictions were “fascist” and not democratic. “We are a bit worried about not being able to resume production in the Bay Area, and that should be identified as a serious risk,” Musk said. He also urged supporters on Twitter to “please voice your disagreement as strongly as possible with Alameda County.”

An Alameda County spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge on Saturday that the county Health Care Services Agency and Public Health Department have been “communicating directly and working closely with the Tesla team on the ground in Fremont. This has been a collaborative, good faith effort to develop and implement a safety plan that allows for reopening while protecting the health and well-being of the thousands of employees who travel to and from work at Tesla’s factory.”

The spokesperson added that the team at Tesla had been responsive to guidance and recommendations “and we look forward to coming to an agreement on an appropriate safety plan very soon.” The statement, issued several hours after Musk’s tweets, did not reference the Tesla CEO’s comments or mention him by name.

Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020

“We appreciate that our residents and businesses have made tremendous sacrifices and that together we have been able to save lives and protect community health in our region,“ the statement continues. “It is our collective responsibility to move through the phases of reopening and loosening the restrictions of the Shelter-in-Place Order in the safest way possible, guided by data and science.”

Tesla announced plans to resume “limited operations” at its Fremont facility yesterday, which would bring back about 30 percent of its workforce. But officials in Alameda County, where Fremont is located, said yesterday that it was still under a shelter-in-place order and that Tesla it didn’t meet its criteria to reopen. “We have not said that it’s appropriate to move forward,” said Erica Pan, Alameda County’s health officer, according to Bloomberg.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Thursday that state-level guidance allowing manufacturing to resume some production didn’t supersede county-level restrictions. The company had unsucessfully tried to argue that Tesla’s production should be considered critical infrastructure.

The Fremont plant, where Tesla assembles its Model 3, Model S, Model X, and Model Y vehicles, was temporarily closed March 23rd to comply with the shelter-in-place order. Tesla reduced pay for all its US salaried employees as of April 13th and put most hourly workers who can’t work remotely on unpaid furlough. What would happen to the roughly 10,000 workers at the Fremont plant if Tesla were to move operations out of state as Musk tweeted, was unclear.

Both Tesla and Musk settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018 over Musk’s tweets about taking Tesla private. Then, in 2019, the terms of the settlement were renegotiated. Under the new terms, a company lawyer must approve Musk’s tweets about certain parts of Tesla’s business before Musk sends them. That includes any announcement that would trigger a filing of the form 8-K, which is used for announcing unscheduled material events, to the SEC. As of this writing, Tesla has not filed an 8-K about Musk’s proposed factory move.

Tesla did not reply to a request for comment.

UPDATE May 9th, 5:16PM ET: Adds statement from Alameda County spokesperson and includes additional tweet from Musk.

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Tesla Twitter

Was Elon’s Tesla Twitter meltdown illegal? An investigation – The Verge

Elon Musk welcomes you to Meltdown May. He is its mascot.

Today, Musk tweeted he’d sell “almost all” his physical possessions. Well, all right. Then, he tweeted that Tesla’s share price was too high, sending its shares down. Then he tweeted part of “The Star Spangled Banner,” America’s difficult-to-sing national anthem. He encouraged us all to “rage, rage against the dying of the light of consciousness,” which somewhat mangles the meter of Dylan Thomas’ best-known poem. He announced his girlfriend, the musician Grimes, was mad at him.

True, May only started today and Musk has been melting down all week. For instance, there was the unhinged ranting on his earnings call about the “fascist” stay-home orders California implemented to slow the coronavirus spread. “We are a bit worried about not being able to resume production in the Bay Area, and that should be identified as a serious risk,” Musk began on the call. (Six Bay Area counties jointly extended the shelter-in-place orders affecting Tesla’s Fremont factory through May 31st, with only some minor relaxing of restrictions.) Then he went on: “The expansion of shelter-in-place, or as we call it, forcibly imprisoning people in their homes, against all their constitutional rights, is, in my opinion, breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong, and not why people came to America and built this country. What the fuck!”

What the fuck, indeed. Being dangerously wrong about the coronavirus has been something of a Musk hobby lately. For instance, he promoted a dubious paper on chloroquine, which was immediately ripped apart — the authors were blockchain hucksters, not medical researchers. On March 6th, he called “the coronavirus panic” dumb; on March 14th, he said that panic was worse than “corona.” On March 19th, he predicted “close to zero new cases in US too by end of April.”

More than a million people in the US have been confirmed to have COVID-19, as of April 28. This is almost certainly an undercount, since these case numbers are artificially constrained by a lack of widespread testing for the illness.

So Musk spent March being wrong about COVID-19. Okay. That’s not illegal. But securities fraud is. Ladies and gentlemen, my fellow dirtbags, and everyone else: the SEC disrespector has logged on.

It is not immediately obvious to me whether tweeting that Tesla is overpriced is securities fraud, because I am not a lawyer. So I called some. “I don’t see anything actionable here,” says Evelyn Cruz Sroufe, a partner at Perkins Coie who specializes in corporate governance. For today’s tweets to qualify as securities fraud, the SEC or a plaintiff would have to show that Musk would have profited from a drop in the stock price by — for instance — having a short position or a put. “This looks instead to be just Musk sounding off,” she says in an email. “His use of ‘imo’ also puts his statement into the realm of personal opinion, for which there is latitude.”

Usually, when a company wants to convey to its shareholders that it may be overvalued, it does so by providing facts and risk factor, says Alma Angotti, a partner and co-head of the global investigations and compliance practice at Guidehouse who’s previously worked in enforcement at the SEC, among other agencies. “You give facts so the market can analyze those facts,” she says. “There’s not a good reason for him to say he thinks it’s overvalued that I can think of, especially in an informal way.”

According to Angotti, market manipulation — that is, when someone takes steps to artificially affect the prices of a security — requires only intent. “He doesn’t need to benefit, though benefit is often how the government proves intent,” she says. And the SEC is already watching him because of his previous actions.

John Reed Stark, president of John Reed Stark Consulting, who previously worked in SEC enforcement, doesn’t see it the same way as Agnotti. “Intent is a hard thing to prove,” Stark says. Greg Shill, a law professor at the University of Iowa, told me bluntly that he doesn’t know if this counts as securities fraud or not. “It’s uncommon but not necessarily illegal for a public company CEO to essentially call on the market to mark down the value of his company’s stock,” Shill says.

The worst circumstances for Musk would be if he were buying shares of Tesla, or the company were participating in a buyback program, says Steve Diamond, a law professor at Santa Clara University. “I assume neither is the case,” Diamond says.

What about that SEC settlement and scrutiny, though? Perhaps you recall, in the depths of very recent history, that on August 7th, 2018, Musk tweeted: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” Funding was not, in fact, secured, the SEC investigation found — Musk had a few meetings with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund but hadn’t discussed a go-private transaction. “In truth and in fact, Musk had not even discussed, much less confirmed, key deal terms, including price, with any potential funding source,” the SEC wrote in its complaint.

Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018

Anyway, they settled, and then on February 19th, Musk tweeted a prediction for the number of Model 3s the company would make that wasn’t the same as Tesla’s official guidance. One of the provisions of the settlement was that Musk have his tweets about Tesla pre-approved by an in-house lawyer. And when the agency inquired whether this in-house lawyer had approved the February 19th tweets, the answer was that Musk had not had any of his tweets about Tesla pre-approved. After several weeks of jockeying, the two parties came to an agreement: Musk must have a company lawyer pre-approve tweets about Tesla’s financial health, sales, or delivery numbers.

Do the Meltdown May tweets violate that? The Wall Street Journal contacted Musk to ask if he was joking or if anyone had vetted his tweet before posting it. “No,” Musk replied in an email.

“If it was not vetted, he’s at risk of being hauled into court again by the SEC,” says Diamond. “The process was meant to catch these kinds of tweets before they went out. If he did it spontaneously, I think he’s gonna have an issue.”

Jay Dubow, a partner at Pepper Hamilton who focuses on white collar litigation, thinks the SEC is in a tough position. On the one hand, Musk is openly flouting their settlement if he didn’t get his tweets approved. On the other hand, if the SEC goes so far as to force Musk to dissociate himself from Tesla, that potentially hurts the shareholders who bought into the stock because they believe in him. “They’re going to have to react and do something,” Dubow says. “Because this was a clear violation of the order and I don’t know how they’re going to let that go.”

Shill also views it as a challenge to the agency. “It would be prudent for the SEC to request confirmation that the settlement agreement was complied with,” Shill told me. “Right now he’s arguably delivering to Tesla shareholders what they want: a really unrestrained, unfiltered CEO. When you buy Tesla, that’s arguably what you’re buying — but that’s not what the SEC settlement says.”

If it is a violation of the settlement agreement, Tesla is also implicated because the company was meant to control him, Angotti says. Tesla’s board of directors may be held responsible for Musk’s actions — a trend in corporate governance is making sure the board is accountable for compliance at an organization, she tells me. “If they can’t control the CEO, they’re not ensuring a very good culture of compliance at that company,” Angotti says. “They can say it all day but if they don’t enforce it, it doesn’t mean anything.”

Trying to hold Musk accountable may be awkward for the board, though. Tesla has dropped its directors and officers liability insurance, it said in an April 28th regulatory filing. This policy keeps companies, board members, and executives from having to pay their own fees for defense, settlement or judgement when they face lawsuits. Instead, Musk will “personally provide coverage substantially equivalent to such a policy for a one-year period.”

One more thing: while I was working on this story, the Environmental Protection Agency got back to us, because I guess everyone loves Meltdown May. So earlier this week, Musk said on Tesla’s earnings call that the Tesla Model S Long Range should be the first electric vehicle to sport a 400-mile range. The EPA rating, a range of 391 miles, happened after someone left the keys in the vehicle and the door open overnight, depleting 2 percent of the vehicle’s battery, Musk said on the call.

“We can confirm that EPA tested the vehicle properly, the door was closed, and we are happy to discuss any technical issues with Tesla, as we do routinely with all automakers,” an EPA spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge.

Can’t wait to see what other government agencies decide to celebrate Meltdown May with us all. And if you fear being tangled up in its grips, one good way to avoid it is dead simple: never tweet.

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