Elon Musk can’t seem to help himself. Days after Tesla CEO spurned—then accepted—a settlement with the SEC over his tweets claiming he was taking the automaker private, Musk again took to Twitter to mock the agency, calling it the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission.”
Musk’s latest tweet, which appears to be missing a word, did little to reassure investors who have endured volatility in Tesla’s stock caused by his public comments. Tesla’s stock was down 3% at $273.56 a share in after hours trading, adding to a 4.4% decline during the official trading session on Thursday.
Last Friday, Tesla’s stock lost 14% of its value after the SEC sued Musk for securities fraud, claiming that statements he made on Twitter about having secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share were “reckless” and “misleading.” Musk reportedly rebuffed the SEC’s demand that he refrain from saying publicly he did nothing wrong.
On Monday, Tesla’s stock recovered most of those losses after Musk agreed to settle with the SEC.
Musk has been vocal about his animus toward short-sellers, especially in the past year as Tesla has struggled to meet the ambitious production goals that the CEO set for its Model 3 vehicle. “Short sellers are desperately pushing a narrative that will possibly result in Tesla’s destruction,” Musk said in a now notorious interview with the New York Times in August.
Short sellers, meanwhile, may be benefiting every time Musk’s controversial comments or erratic behavior pushes Tesla’s stock down. In the days after that August Times interview, hedge funds that had been shorting Tesla made $1.2 billion, according to stock analytics firm S3 Partners.