(Reuters) – Shares of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) tumbled 10% on Friday following a tweet from Chief Executive Elon Musk’s Twitter account that the electric car maker’s recently high-flying stock is overly expensive.
The tweet was one of several unusual messages, including ones quoting parts of the U.S. national anthem and that he would sell almost all his physical possessions, raising questions about whether Musk’s account was compromised.
“Tesla stock price is too high,” Musk’s Twitter account tweeted.
Reuters could not immediately verify whether Musk sent the tweet. Tesla and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comment about whether Musk’s account had been hacked.
A year ago, Musk settled a dispute with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over his use of Twitter, agreeing to submit his public statements about Tesla’s finances and other topics to vetting by the company’s legal counsel.
Tesla’s stock has surged in recent weeks, but is down since Wednesday when the company reported an unexpected quarterly profit, despite manufacturing interruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Including Friday’s drop, the shares remain up over 40% from May 1, 2019.
Musk’s latest tweets follow others this week, as well as comments on Tesla’s quarterly conference call on Wednesday, criticizing the California government’s stay-at-home orders, which have forced him to shut Tesla’s plant in Fremont, California.
The billionaire has a history of sending provocative and sensational tweets, including announcing his now-shelved plan to take the company private and recent criticism of coronavirus-related government lockdowns, which the tweets on Friday about the national anthem appeared to echo.
In April 2019 he tweeted, “My Twitter is pretty much complete nonsense at this point.”
His iconoclastic stance has helped Musk attract over 33 million followers on Twitter and is seen as a marketing boon for Tesla.
Tesla’s recent rally has put Musk on the verge of a payday of over $700 million. The six-month average of Tesla’s market capitalization is just short of $100 billion, a target that would trigger the vesting of a tranche of options granted to Musk to buy 1.69 million shares as part of his two-year-old pay package.
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