Connect with us

Business

Twitter users say ‘yes’ to Musk’s proposal to sell 10% of his Tesla stock

Published

on

November 7, 2021

By Aishwarya Nair and Hyunjoo Jin

(Reuters) – Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk should sell about 10% of his Tesla stock, according to 57.9% of people who voted on his Twitter poll asking users of the social media network whether he should offload the stake.

“I was prepared to accept either outcome,” Musk said, after the voting ended.

Advertisement

The world’s richest person tweeted on Saturday that he would offload 10% of his stock if users approved the proposal.

Musk has previously said he would have to exercise a large number of stock options in the next three months, which would create a big tax bill. Selling some of his stock could free up funds to pay the taxes.

As of June 30, Musk’s shareholding in Tesla came to about 170.5 million shares and selling 10% would amount to close to $21 billion based on Friday’s closing, according to Reuters calculations.

The poll garnered more than 3.5 million votes.

“Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock,” Musk said on Saturday, adding that he does not take cash salary or bonus “from anywhere”, and only has stock.

Advertisement

U.S. Senate Democrats have unveiled a proposal to tax billionaires’ stocks and other tradeable assets to help finance President Joe Biden’s social spending agenda and fill a loophole that has allowed them to defer capital gains taxes indefinitely.

Musk has criticized the proposal saying, “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, who floated the tax proposal, said on Saturday: “Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll.”

“It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax.”

Including stock options, Musk owns a 23% stake in Tesla, the world’s most valuable car company whose market value recently exceeded $1 trillion. He also owns other valuable companies including SpaceX.

Advertisement

His brother Kimbal Musk on Friday sold 88,500 Tesla shares, becoming the latest board member to offload a large number of Tesla stocks which hit record highs.

A week ago, Musk said on Twitter that he would sell $6 billion in Tesla stock and donate it to the United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP), provided the organization disclosed more information about how it spent its money.

Tesla bull Gary Black, portfolio manager at The Future Fund, said that Musk’s potential stock sale would lead to “1-2 days of modest selling pressure,” but said there would be solid institutional demand to snap up the shares at a discount.

TAXES ON STOCK OPTION EXERCISE

Musk has said he does not want to borrow against stock to pay taxes because stock value could go down.

Advertisement

He has an option to buy 22.86 million shares at $6.24 each, which expires on Aug. 13 next year, according to a Tesla filing. The option exercise could lead to gains of roughly $28 billion based on Tesla’s Friday closing price of $1,222.09.

In September, Musk said he is likely to pay taxes of over half the gains he would make from exercising options. Last year, he said he has been relocated from California to Texas which should lead to a cut to the total tax bill because Texas has no income tax, experts say.

“(It) seems crazy to borrow that much to pay taxes, so I have to assume he’d need to liquidate a substantial amount of the shares purchased from the option exercise to pay taxes,” said Bryan Springmeyer, an attorney at San Francisco-based law firm Springmeyer Law.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair and Vishal Vivek in Bengaluru and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Chizu Nomiyama)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Business

Investors brace for potential hit to earnings because of Omicron

Published

on

December 6, 2021

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As details of a new COVID-19 variant emerge, investors are bracing for a potential hit to U.S. corporate earnings, particularly among retailers, restaurants and travel companies.

News of the Omicron variant comes in the middle of the holiday shopping period, and many businesses are already struggling with higher inflation and supply chain snags because of the pandemic.

Advertisement

That is putting the focus again on these companies affected by the reopening of the economy, said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco in New York.

“Are we still going to see traffic into restaurants and retailers, or at least retailers that derive most of their revenue from in-store traffic as opposed to online?” she said. “The other area of vulnerability of course is supply chain disruptions.”

She and other strategists said it’s too early to tell the extent to which the variant could affect earnings.

The Omicron variant that captured global attention in South Africa less than two weeks ago has spread to about one-third of U.S. states, but the Delta version accounts for the majority of COVID-19 infections as cases rise nationwide, U.S. health officials said on Sunday.

Goldman Sachs on Saturday cited risks and uncertainty around the emergence of the Omicron variant as it cut its outlook for U.S. economic growth to 3.8% for 2022. While the variant could slow economic reopening, the firm expects “only a modest drag” on service spending, it said in a note.

Advertisement

U.S. companies have just wrapped up a much stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings season, and the rate of fourth-quarter earnings year-over-year growth has been expected to be well below the previous quarter’s.

Analysts see fourth-quarter S&P 500 earnings up 21.6% from the year-ago quarter, while third-quarter earnings growth was at about 43%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

That fourth-quarter forecast has not changed since Nov. 26, just after the new variant became headline news.

Omicron may be affecting travel plans. Airline shares have already come under pressure, with the NYSE Arca airline index down 8.3% since the close of the session before Nov. 26.

For companies, “the significance of the impact will depend on how long the Omicron measures last,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. “There will be some short-term impact… It’ll surely cause some short-term disruption to travel.”

Advertisement

Colin Scarola, a vice president of equity research at CFRA, wrote in a Dec. 2 note on the airline sector that while details of the variant are still emerging, trends in U.S. air travel over recent months with the Delta variant may give some insight into what could happen to travel under the Omicron variant.

“This recent history tells us that most people have already accepted the material risk of infection with a Covid-19 variant when fully vaccinated. But knowing that risk of severe illness remains very low, they’ve been comfortable flying on airplanes,” he wrote.

Compounding concerns about the 2022 earnings outlook are higher costs for companies, with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell last week signaling that inflation risks are rising and numerous companies citing rising costs during the third-quarter earnings season.

Even before the Omicron news, Tuz said investors were reading “more and more about inflation and wages and other inputs,” and that was expected to continue into 2022.

“I don’t know if the ability to pass along these higher costs is going to exist as much,” he said.

Advertisement

(Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Alden Bentley and Nick Zieminski)

Continue Reading

Business

Bank investment chiefs signal China and emerging market caution

Published

on

December 6, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) -Market volatility and uncertainty over China’s indebted property sector is making bank investment chiefs cautious about its assets, amid more general nervousness about broader emerging markets.

“I would take a wait-and-see approach on emerging markets,” Credit Suisse global chief investment officer Michael Strobaek told the Reuters annual Investment Outlook Summit.

“I would take a day-by-day, week-by-week approach to China, to see what’s unfolding on the default side and the policy side,” he said, referring to problems in the country’s giant corporate debt sector.

Advertisement

“Only if I see real deep opportunities, I’d go back in.”

Willem Sels, Global CIO, Private Banking & Wealth Management, HSBC, said clients needed to take a longer term view on emerging markets after many were hurt by recent volatility.

“We have a neutral view on China, we try to diversify,” he said.

“We try to get the confidence of investing in China. We try to align ourselves with what is clear in terms of government policy, and that’s the net zero transmission.”

Investors can still “find some winners” in China by digging down into areas like green tech and 5G-related businesses where the government was showing significant support, said Mark Haefele, CIO at UBS Global Wealth Management.

Advertisement

(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes, Sujata Rao and Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Continue Reading

Business

IMF says euro zone should keep supporting economy, high inflation is temporary

Published

on

December 6, 2021

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone governments should continue to spend to support the COVID-19 economic recovery, though in an increasingly focused way, and consolidate public finances only when it is firmly under way, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday.

In a regular report on the euro zone economy presented to the group’s finance ministers, the IMF noted, however, that while consolidation itself could wait, a credible way of how it would be done in the future should be announced already now.

“Policies should remain accommodative but become increasingly targeted, with a focus on mitigating potential rises in inequality and poverty,” the IMF said.

Advertisement

“Fiscal policy space should be rebuilt once the expansion is firmly underway, but credible medium-term consolidation plans should be announced now,” it said.

The Fund also noted that the rise in inflation, which hit a record high of 4.9% on a year-on-year basis in November, was temporary and, therefore, not a big threat because it did not translate into a spike in wages, called a second-round effect.

“Recent inflation readings have surprised on the upside, but much of the increase still appears transitory, with large second-round effects unlikely,” the report said, adding that the European Central Bank’s monetary policy should therefore continue to be accommodative.

“Structural reforms and high-impact investment, including in climate-friendly infrastructure and digitalization, remain crucial to enhancing resilience and boosting potential growth,” the IMF said.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Paul Simao)

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending