Tesla Stock Is Plunging. It’s Probably Musk’s Twitter This Time.

Tesla Stock Is Plunging. It’s Probably Musk’s Twitter This Time.

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Shares of Tesla have dropped more than 17% this week.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Recent declines in


Tesla

stock have deviated from market-related trading patterns, leaving investors wondering if something else is going on with shares of the auto maker.

Tesla stock (ticker: TSLA) dropped 7% Wednesday. And shares are down more than 17% over the past week, down more than the broader market. The

Nasdaq Composite
and

Russell 1000 Growth Index
are both down roughly 8% over the same span. Concerns about the crisis in Ukraine and the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy changes have weighed on the stock market.

But something else appears to be unnerving investors. CEO Elon Musk appears to have picked another fight with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk is voicing his displeasure on Twitter where he has more than 74 million followers.

On Tuesday, Musk responded to a post on Twitter that linked to an article that claimed the SEC leaked information related to its investigation of the CEO. Musk said: “This is just peeling back the first layer of the corruption onion. Stay tuned…”

Musk’s post on Twitter came days after a lawyer representing him sent a letter to U.S. Southern District of New York judge Alison Nathan that claimed the SEC “is out to retaliate against my clients for exercising their First Amendment rights.” The three-page letter, dated Feb. 21, was reviewed by Barron’s.

Then, on Wednesday, Musk took to Twitter again, saying he didn’t start the fight with the SEC, but that he would “finish it.” He also responded to another post that suggested the SEC colludes with hedge funds with the word “Exactly.”

Neither the SEC nor Tesla have responded to Barron’s requests for comment.

Investors don’t love distractions. The issues with Musk, his Twitter, and the SEC are just that.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

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