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WEEKLY MARKET ROUND-UP – 14/01/21

An electric year for Tesla

Tesla shares rose over 743% in 2020 compared to just over 16% for the S&P 500 Index (in US dollar terms). Tesla joined the S&P index on 21 December 2020 as the sixth biggest stock in the market but it’s already motored past Facebook.

Elon Musk becomes richest man in history (so far)

Since listing on the S&P index in December (generating huge demand from passive investors for the shares) and seeing a new, climate-friendly president elected to the White House, the price of Tesla shares has continued to surge. The unprecedented gains enjoyed by the stock have catapulted the company’s founder, Elon Musk, to becoming the richest person on Earth.

On Monday (11 Jan), Bloomberg reported that Mr Musk’s personal wealth was now estimated to be around $209bn. The figure eclipses that of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos whose personal fortune is currently estimated to be around $186bn following the most expensive divorce settlement in history back in 2019.

Elon Musk’s arrival as the world richest man pushes the likes of Microsoft found Bill Gates into third place with a personal pile worth $134bn. Meanwhile, Bernard Arnault, the CEO of LVMH, slips to fourth ($117bn) with Mark Zuckerburg down to fifth place with assets of $101bn.

Twitter takes a hit after finally silencing Donald Trump

Shares in Twitter tumbled as much as 12% on Monday (11 Jan) following the social-media platform’s decision to permanently suspend the accounts of President Trump and loyal acolytes such as former national security adviser Michael Flynn and attorney Sidney Powell.

The decision to finally muzzle the US president followed last week’s siege of the US Capitol by Trump loyalists, which claimed five lives. Twitter said it took the move “due to the risk of further incitement of violence”. Shares in Facebook, which has also censured Mr Trump (for the remaining days of his presidency), also receded on Monday amid wider scrutiny of social media’s role in the Capitol riots and calls for a second impeachment of Mr Trump.

Twitter’s stock faces pressure with the departure of one of its biggest names: Mr Trump had around 88m followers and, in 2020 alone, he tweeted or retweeted more than 12,000 times; it also risks potential political boycotts.