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Tesla drops below $ 1,000 billion as stocks continue to fall


Tesla lost its $ 1,000 billion valuation for the first time since October in a new investigation by US regulators.

Shares of the electric vehicle maker have fallen 23% from its closing high of $ 1,229 on Nov. 4.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into allegations by whistleblowers about solar panel faults, Reuters reported.

Tesla allegedly failed to properly inform its shareholders and the public of the fire risks associated with solar panels over several years.

It follows a complaint filed in 2019 by Steven Henkes, a former quality manager for solar fields. Mr Henkes sued the company after being fired last year, claiming the dismissal was in retaliation for raising safety concerns.

Tesla is also being investigated into accidents involving its driver assistance systems. Last month, it recalled nearly 12,000 U.S. vehicles due to a communication error that could trigger a false collision warning or unexpected automatic emergency braking.

The stock was already down amid the market volatility. Traders have been spooked by the spread of the omicron variant and last week’s hawkish message from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hitting Wall Street darlings like Tesla.

Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives told Bloomberg: “The solar business has been a disaster for Tesla’s history and the streets continue to be frustrated with this segment of the business.

Investor sentiment was also hit by chief executive Elon Musk, saying he would cut his stake by 10 percent. He has so far offloaded shares worth $ 10 billion, having sold 10 million shares, although he has 17 million left before reaching the target.

Despite the latest weakness, Tesla is up 39% year-to-date, beating a 22% gain in the S&P 500. The stock did well in October after strong third quarter results.