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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
U.S. stock futures rise following Friday's omicron-sparked selloff – MarketWatch
U.S. stock futures rose late Sunday, following a steep selloff Friday sparked by fears of the global economic impact of a worrisome new strain of COVID-19.
On Friday, Wall Street suffered its worst day in more than a year amid growing concerns over the new omicron variant of COVID-19. The World Health Organization’s technical advisory group on Friday declared it a “variant of concern,” and a number of countries imposed flight bans from countries in southern Africa, where the variant was first discovered.
Little is known about omicron, but investors Friday braced for bad news.
In a holiday-shortened session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
slumped 905.04 points, or 2.5%, to 34,899.34, with the index logging its worst daily drop since Oct. 28, 2020, according to FactSet data. The S&P 500
fell 106.84 points, or 2.3%, to 4,594.62, and the Nasdaq Composite Index
sank 353.57 points, or 2.2%, to 15,491.66.
“The pandemic and COVID variants remain one of the biggest risks to markets, and are likely to continue to inject volatility over the next year(s),” Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer and chief market strategist at Truist Advisory Services, wrote in a Friday note. “It’s hard to say at this point how lasting or impactful this latest variant will be for markets.”
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Canadians should experience the fastest drop in gasoline prices in nearly 13 years on Sunday as fears about a virulent new COVID-19 variant are expected to provide a break of 11 cents per litre at the pumps.
Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said the national average price could drop to about $1.32 per litre but begin to rise again midweek.
“(Sunday) represents the single largest decrease at the pumps we’ve seen going back to 2009,” he said in an interview.
Global crude oil prices plunged Friday over fears about a new COVID-19 variant called Omicron that prompted Canada to ban entry for foreign nationals who travelled through southern Africa.
The January crude oil contract fell 13.1 per cent or US$10.24 on Friday and currently stands at US$68.15 per barrel.
The decrease came as U.S. stock markets closed early Friday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Sunday and Monday are going to be the best days for Canadians to fill up, including British Columbia,” McTeague said
Even residents of flood-ravaged B.C. will save on the province’s high gasoline prices despite facing rationing because severe flooding has shut both the Trans Mountain pipeline and the province’s lone refinery.
Drivers of non-essential vehicles can only purchase up to 30 litres per visit to a gas station in the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky area, Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.
East Coast residents won’t reap the immediate benefits of Sunday’s price drop because its regulated regional system averages price movements. That provides price predictability but blunts price discounts.
Despite the upcoming decrease, national gasoline prices have surged nearly 43 per cent in the past year as the reopening of the global economy from pandemic lockdowns prompted a recovery in crude prices.
McTeague suggested Canadians shouldn’t get too comfortable with the energy savings. He said prices are expectd to increase as OPEC and its allies, who are meeting on Monday, will likely refuse to increase production any further. Energy traders realize that Friday’s decrease was overdone and “flies in the face of fundamentals,” he added.
“My sense is that the decreases that we saw were a little exaggerated and overbought, and for that reason I think we might see a little bit more balance come back to the markets and fundamentals by Wednesday,” McTeague said.
“Unless there’s further unsettling news of greater and further lockdowns, I would expect that oil prices are probably going to recover US$3 to US$4 a barrel by Monday or Tuesday, which means by Wednesday or Thursday we could be looking at increases in the order of four or five cents a litre.”
McTeague said some gasoline savings will continue for a couple of weeks, but he foresees crude climbing back to about US$90 a barrel, which would translate into prices in Canada exceeding $1.50 per litre.
Impending carbon tax increases will further boost prices.
A tax of 2.5 cents per litre, including HST, will take effect on April 1, 2022. It will be followed in December by the clear fuel standard that will add another 18.1 cents per litre including HST, said McTeague.
Adding to the inflation pressure is the Canadian dollar which is less valuable than when it was at par the last time crude prices were around US$80. That reduces the purchasing power for all kinds of products, including energy and food.
The Canadian Automobile Association said that as of early Saturday morning, Manitoba had the lowest average pump price of $1.35/L, followed closely by Alberta at $1.377, while Newfoundland and Labrador was the highest at $1.583 with British Columbia at $1.558.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2021.
Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
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