By Alan Murray and David Meyer
August 8, 2018

Good morning.

Elon Musk doesn’t much like short-sellers, stock analysts, or annoying reporters like me who raise questions about his campaign to save the world. So if someone is willing to give him the money to take Tesla private, and avoid such scrutiny, why shouldn’t he? That’s what he suggested he was going to do in a note to employees yesterday. “Funding secured,” he claimed, at a price of $420 a share — 20% over the market price. Musk’s comments caused Tesla’s stock price to jump 10% (the markets half believed him), putting pesky short sellers in a squeeze.

But if anyone is really considering giving Musk the money to pull off this maneuver, they should ask themselves this: when in the history of business have the outspoken opponents of transparency and scrutiny turned out to be the good guys? If CEO Daily readers can think of such an example, please send it to me. (By the way, I could ask the same question about politicians who rail against transparency and scrutiny.)

Tesla was not the only stock that had a good day yesterday. Amazon, Alphabet and Microsoft all moved closer to the trillion dollar benchmark, and the S&P 500 approached its January all-time high. The U.S. markets are brushing off the threat of a serious trade war, even though that threat seemed to intensify yesterday.

By the way, while I believe no one wins a trade war, markets seem to be taking Trump’s view that the U.S. can prevail. While U.S. markets are near their year highs, Chinese markets are down 20% for the year.

News below.

Alan Murray


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