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Elon Musk just lost $3.3B on a double whammy

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 10/02/2016 Matt Krantz

ELON MUSK© ASSOCIATED PRESS ELON MUSK It's been an ugly stock market for most investors. But famed inventor and investor Elon Musk is having an exceptionally bad year - not just on one investment - but two. 

Musk's holdings in solar panel installer SolarCity (SCTY) and electric car maker Tesla (TSLA) are down a staggering $3.3 billion - just this year. Musk is the largest single owner of both companies - which together have handed all investors total market value losses of $14.8 billion this year. 

Both Musk's companies have been falling out of favor with investors this year as the market punishes companies that are thin on profit but high on valuation. Falling oil prices have also taken out the urgency and enthusiasm over alternative energy plays. 

Musk is now down $666 million in his shares of SolarCity on the year. The stock plunged 25% Wednesday to $19.56 after the company that installs and leases solar panels told investors late Tuesday it will likely lose up to $2.65 a share in the current quarter. That's deeper than the $2.49 a share loss investors were expecting, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The negative outlook completely overshadowed the fact that during the fourth quarter the company reported a better-than-expected quarterly loss of an adjusted $2.37 a share. Shares of SolarCity were already down 48% this year - before Wednesday's drop. 

Next, all eyes are on Musk's big investment: Tesla. Musk's massive $4.3 billion stake in the electric car maker makes his $419 million position in SolarCity look minor. Shares of Tesla are down 37% this year - serving up a nearly $12 billion loss to investors - of which Musk has personally eaten $2.6 billion. Tesla is expected to report quarterly earnings after the market closes Wednesday. Investors predict the company to turn a profit of an adjusted 12 cents a share, reversing four-straight quarterly losses. Revenue for the quarter is expected to rise 65% to $1.8 billion.

It's too soon to feel bad for Musk. His stakes in SolarCity and Tesla are still valued at $4.8 billion. That doesn't even include Musk's stake in space flight pioneer SpaceX, which is privately held.  

And perhaps Tesla's profit report can turn on the turbo and blow away the negative investor sentiment. But so far, investors who have gotten hammered this year betting on Musk - including Musk himself.


Company, symbol, % ch. YTD, Musk's paper loss

SolarCity, SCTY, -61%, $666,257,752

Tesla, TSLA, -37.4%, $2,596,965,278

Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence, USA TODAY

Follow Matt Krantz on Twitter @mattkrantz


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