Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, said on Twitter Friday that the company’s stock price, which has been surging in recent weeks, was “too high” in his opinion. The stock fell sharply after the post, and was trading down more than 9 percent.
Always volatile, the price of the company’s shares have been rising steadily since mid-March in part because investors believe Tesla is poised to lead a transition to electric cars. The company’s shares are worth more than the combined value of General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler, which make millions of cars a year compared to the hundreds of thousands that Tesla produces.
This week, Tesla announced that it earned a small profit in the first quarter — the third straight profitable quarter for the company, which has never been profitable over a full year.
During the company’s conference call with analysts to discuss its quarterly results, Mr. Musk, who has attracted devoted fans and critics, lashed out at stay-at-home orders that have closed Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., car factory, calling them “fascist.”
Mr. Musk also said on Friday that he was “selling almost all physical possessions” and would no longer own a home. He also posted lines from the national anthem and wrote, “Now give people back their FREEDOM.”
In 2018, Mr. Musk reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he agreed to step down as Tesla’s chairman, and that a lawyer would approve any written statement Mr. Musk makes about the company that might contain material information. The agreement came after Mr. Musk had said on Twitter that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private at $420 a share. It turned out that the plan was in a much more embryonic state than his tweet indicated.
In April 2019, Mr. Musk and the S.E.C. amended that agreement after the securities regulator sought to hold him in contempt of court after he talked about Tesla’s production forecast on Twitter. The new agreement included a list of things the chief executive was not to speak about without approval, including the electric-car company’s financial condition, earnings forecast, proposed acquisitions and production data.