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Matt Levine

Tesla Kept Busy in 2020

Also short short shortage, direct indexing, Bitcoin gimmicks and legal realism.

I was planning to spend this week writing about stories that I missed since going on parental leave in August. Possibly half of them were about Tesla Inc.? Tesla, as always, kept doing stuff while I was out. There was a 5-for-1 stock split at the end of August, taking the stock price down from over $2,200 per share to a more manageable $440-ish. (It closed yesterday at a split-adjusted all-time high of $735.11, for a market capitalization of $697 billion.)

Stock splits are probably financial media’s most infamous category of non-news: You have one share worth $2,200, then you have five shares worth $440, nothing has changed about the expected future cash flows of the company, you have the same amount of water in a different number of buckets, there is nothing really to say. “Ignore Stock Splits, Even Those of Apple and Tesla,” my colleague Nir Kaissar wrote at Bloomberg Opinion. When Apple Inc. has done stock splits I have struggled mightily to try to say something interesting about them, and I don’t claim any particular success.