Elon Musk set records last year for one of the fastest streaks of wealth accumulation in history but the Tesla Inc. chief executive officer has lost $27 billion since Monday as shares of the automaker tumbled in the selloff of tech stocks. His $156.9 billion net worth still places him No. 2 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, but he’s now almost $20 billion behind Jeff Bezos, who he topped just last week as world’s richest person.
The rout in Tesla Inc. shares has far exceeded the broader market’s decline and wiped out over $230 billion from the electric-vehicle maker’s valuation in the past four weeks.
Tesla’s shares dropped as much as 13% on Friday before closing down 3.8% at $597.95, the lowest since Dec. 3. The stock lost 11% of its value just this week, extending its losing streak to four weeks, the longest since May 2019.
Tesla’s lofty valuation also took a hit from a broader selloff in high-multiple technology stocks this week. Investors ditched the group amid a rise in Treasury yields, leading to concerns that companies trading at high valuations may not perform up to expectations if borrowing costs surge.
The EV industry leader was among the top decliners in both the Nasdaq 100 Stock Index, as well as the S&P 500 Index on Friday. Tesla’s current market capitalization stands at around $574 billion, a far cry from the high of $837 billion it reached in late January.
Musk’s tumble only underscores the hard-to-fathom velocity of his ascent. Tesla shares soared 743% in 2020, boosting the value of his stake and unlocking billions of dollars in options through his historic “moonshot” compensation package.
His gains accelerated into the new year. In January, he unseated Bezos as the world’s richest person. Musk’s fortune peaked later that month at $210 billion, according to the index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.
Consistent quarterly profits, the election of President Joe Biden with his embrace of clean technologies and enthusiasm from retail investors fueled the company’s rise, but for some, its swelling valuation was emblematic of an unsustainable frothiness in tech. The Nasdaq 100 Index fell for the third straight week on Friday, its longest streak of declines since September.
Musk’s fortune hasn’t been solely subject to the forces buffeting the tech industry. His net worth has risen and slumped recently in tandem with the price of Bitcoin. Tesla disclosed last month it had added $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency to its balance sheet. Musk’s fortune took a $15 billion hit two weeks later after he mused on twitter that the prices of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies “do seem high.”