Tesla bulls lick wounds on social media after Elon Musk’s taxes saga erases Hertz rally

December 21, 2021, 11:50 AM UTC

Bloodied and beaten, Tesla bulls are nursing their wounds after the stock’s Hertz-fueled rally went up in smoke on Monday.

Shares in Elon Musk’s company closed below $900 a share, surrendering all the gains it had made after the formerly insolvent rental car agency Hertz surprised markets with an initial order of 100,000 Model 3 sedans in late October. In its slide, Tesla also lost its distinction as the first automaker to be worth over $1 trillion (if only for now).

With the stock down 28% from its $1,243 all-time high, investors took to social media to commiserate and seek mutual counsel. Tesla topped the list of stocks mentioned on Reddit, ahead of Palantir Technologies and Alibaba over the past 24 hours. Retail shareholders have been a key driver of Tesla’s recent rally, using the options market to pump the share higher via a method known as a “gamma squeeze.”

The bad news has been coming fast and thick for Tesla, which has found itself under constant pressure ever since the purported $4 billion Hertz deal led to a $100 billion–plus increase in market cap. Chief among the bad news is the steady drip of insider stock sales by Musk himself, who has been liquidating part of his holdings to pay tax and counter the political attacks by Democrats accusing the centibillionaire of “freeloading” on society.

On Monday, yet another negative headline emerged with the head of government for the German state of Brandenburg confirming that the start of production at Tesla’s third manufacturing plant would be delayed into early next year, as Fortune reported in June. The opening of Gigafactories in Grünheide, Germany, and Austin have been seen as important catalysts for the stock.

Additional factors driving sentiment southward include general market malaise as a result of the emergence of the highly contagious Omicron variant; the Federal Reserve’s decision to end quantitative easing in March rather than June; and the fear that federal EV tax credits are off the table now that the Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan appears dead in the water.

Not even Dec. 9 proved to offer respite to Tesla investors. The mystical date was marked on the calendars of many retail investors as the likely point for Musk to announce anything—from another five-for-one stock split to the reveal of a new model.

Gary Black, a vocal critic of the piecemeal method by which Musk has been selling off shares, found hope in the belief that the Tesla CEO’s announcement that he will pay $11 billion in taxes signals the end of the stock overhang pressure for the foreseeable future.

“This implies Elon Musk is done selling shares for 2021,” he posted to hotlink]Twitter[/hotlink] on Monday. 

Black should be relieved somewhat: Tesla—along with fellow EV competitors Rivian and Lucid—is positioned to trade in the green when markets open Tuesday.

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