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Tesla's stock price falls after Elon Musk's Twitter followers tell him to sell 10% of his shares

Elon Musk Tesla stock
Posted at 9:34 AM, Nov 08, 2021

Shares of electric car manufacturer Tesla plummeted after markets opened Monday following a weekend announcement by CEO Elon Musk who tweeted Saturday that he planned to sell 10% of his stock.

Musk's decision to sell the shares came after he posed the question of a potential stock sale in a tweet on Saturday.

"Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock," Musk tweeted. "Do you support this?"

A total of 58% of the more than 3.5 million people who responded to the poll said that Musk should dump his stock. The Tesla founder later clarified that he would abide by the results of the poll.

Futures of Tesla's stock plummeted after Musk's tweet on Saturday. The price of a share of Tesla stock was trading $73 lower upon the market's open Monday than it had been at the close of business Friday.

The stock later recovered slightly by noon Monday, but shares were still trading 3% lower than they had on Friday.

Musk's sale comes after a high-profile spat with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who has proposed a change to how wealth is taxed. Currently, stockholders only pay taxes on their stock gains upon a sale. However, Wyden believes that the super-rich, like Musk, should pay a percentage of their net worth even if they do not make stock sales.

"Whether or not the world's wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn't depend on the results of a Twitter poll," Wyden tweeted in response to Musk's poll. "It's time for the Billionaires Income Tax."

CNBC and The New York Times report that Musk's sale may not be entirely tied to the Twitter poll. They report that Musk would have likely begun a sale this quarter anyway because he has a looming $15 billion tax bill, and banks would require him to sell some of his stock to satisfy loan obligations.