Tesla, not Boeing or Etsy, is the year’s worst S&P 500 stock so far

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In need of a rescue.
Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB / AFP via Getty Images (Getty Images)

Poor Tesla. All those recalls, a CEO whose drug use is allegedly so bad his rich friends on the board reportedly want him to head to rehab, increased competition at home and abroad. And as Valentine’s Day approaches, it keeps getting broken up with again and again and again: Investors are ditching its stock en masse, sending it down 24% for the year — a year that’s barely in its second month.

The EV manufacturer’s stock is the worst performer this year in the S&P 500, which as an index is up 4% so far. That’s worse than Boeing, where the “Max” in its 737 Max plane series seems to indicate the number of things that can go wrong, and Etsy, one among the many tech companies laying off staff like mad because business is bad (and not just because they want to keep all their profits to themselves).

The technoking’s new clothes

In Tesla’s annual report, the company explicitly lays out that it is “highly dependent on the services of Elon Musk, Technoking of Tesla and our Chief Executive Officer.” That’s a plus when “he really has made a lot of shareholders a lot of money, and they really would be happy to give him the gold statue and whatever other dumb things he might want in exchange for even a fraction of his entrepreneurial attention,” as Bloomberg’s Matt Levine put it. But it’s a negative when his antics have helped erase more than $200 billion of shareholder value.

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