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Why Tesla Stock Perked Up Today

By Howard Smith – Dec 22, 2021 at 5:48AM

Key Points

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Elon Musk says he's done selling shares for now.

What happened

Tesla (TSLA 0.56%) stock has been on a downslide as CEO Elon Musk slowly worked on unloading the 10% of his shares he publicly said he was aiming for. The stock is down 13.5% over the past month. But shares perked back up Wednesday morning after Musk said in an interview that he has sold all that he intends to for now. As of 10:25 a.m. ET, Tesla shares were up 4.6%. 

So what

Musk was on The Babylon Bee podcast last night where the normally satirical site shifted its format for a straightforward interview. Musk talked about his stock sales, taxes, and why he moved Tesla's headquarters from California to Texas earlier this month. Musk has now sold 13.5 million Tesla shares, and says he's close enough to his goal to sell what he needed to pay his hefty tax bill. Musk had said last weekend that he would be paying $11 billion in taxes this year. 

group of Tesla cars parked in lot overlooking mountains.

Image source: Tesla.

Tesla stock today is likely reacting some to the fact that in the course of selling shares to cover his tax bill, Musk also exercised options to buy about 16.4 million more shares. That leaves him with more shares than when he initially discussed selling 10% of his holdings, according to data compiled by MarketWatch. 

Now what

Musk also discussed moving the company's headquarters to Texas, slamming California in the process. That move to Tesla's Austin gigafactory became official on Dec. 1. He said, "The state of California is doing everything it can to encourage people to leave," calling the state "the land of overregulation, over-litigation, [and] overtaxation."  

While Musk may have been entertaining in the interview, it's his actions that investors are most focused on. And now that he has sold all the shares he intends to for now, investors are giving Tesla stock a bump up today. 

Howard Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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