Elon Musk’s April Fools’ Day joke about Tesla Inc. going bankrupt didn’t seem to jibe with Wall Street, and the company’s stock dropped significantly on Monday, adding to the critical stock declines Tesla has witnessed over the past month.
Musk posted three tweets about the company going bankrupt, including one which jokingly showed him sleeping or unconscious on a Tesla Model 3 with a cardboard sign that read “Bankwupt!”
Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by "Teslaquilla" bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 1, 2018
This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what's the point?
Happy New Month! pic.twitter.com/YcouvFz6Y1
The market reacted decisively, and Tesla shares dropped as much as 7 percent on Monday.
While some on social media thought his humor was a frivolous joke, other users were more critical. Executive editor of financial news outlet TheStreet, Brian Sozzi, wrote, “CEOs of public companies shouldn’t be putting out tweets like this Elon. Let’s get real here, stay focused on what you need to be doing for shareholders.”
CEOs of public companies shouldn't be putting out tweets like this Elon. Let's get real here, stay focused on what you need to be doing for shareholders.— Brian Sozzi (@BrianSozzi) April 2, 2018
The timing of Musk’s tweet likely played a role in some of the criticism. The company’s stock has declined 21 percent over the last month. After the National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating a fatal crash involving a Tesla vehicle in Northern California last month, stocks plummeted.
Concerns also increased about the company’s direction after it recalled 123,000 cars due to a power steering issue.
While Musk knows the inner machinations of his company, investors make decisions with less comprehensive information. Although Musk intended to offer a lighthearted, self-deprecating crack, he seemed to have misread the audience’s mood.
Once Musk reassures the market that Tesla has a long-term future as a profitable venture, the market might be more willing to entertain his comedic forays.