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Tesla stock pops on Musk's Twitter 'step down' poll

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has found a new way to jolt the electric carmaker's bruised stock price: Tease that he'd step away from being Twitter's CEO.

"Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll," Musk tweeted to his 122.1 million followers on Sunday.

The poll closed on Monday morning, with 57.5% of the 17.5 million votes choosing "Yes" and Tesla was up nearly 5% in pre-market trading.

The risk of operational miscues at Tesla has grown as Musk focuses on restructuring Twitter in highly public, often chaotic manner.

"From the botched verification subscription plan to banning journalists to political firestorms caused on a daily basis, it's been the perfect storm as advertisers have run for the hills and left Twitter squarely in the red ink potentially on track to lose roughly $4 billion per year we estimate," Wedbush Managing Director Dan Ives wrote in a new note. "More red ink means funding gaps causing Musk to sell more Tesla stock which has been used as his own personal ATM machine since this saga began in April."

Shares of the EV maker are down about 64% from a peak last November — the stock's largest drawdown since its market debut in 2010 — and down 23% so far this month alone. Most of the losses for Tesla investors began following Musk's April offer to buy Twitter, a deal that closed in in late October.

"You need a CEO of Twitter that's not Musk," Ives said on Yahoo Finance Live on Friday. "This is what I'd say is an untenable situation in terms of him being CEO of Twitter and Tesla."

In the new note, Ives added that "Musk is Tesla and Tesla is Musk. Attention focused on Twitter instead of golden child Tesla has been another big issue for investors and likely is behind this poll results with many Musk loyalists wanting him to leave as CEO of Twitter. With the poll closing this morning, it appears Musk's reign as CEO of Twitter will come to end and thus be a major positive for Tesla's stock starting to slowly remove this albatross from the story."

LUSAIL CITY, QATAR - DECEMBER 18: Jared Kushner and Elon Musk look on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Jared Kushner and Elon Musk look on during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) (Dan Mullan via Getty Images)

Other concerns remain around manufacturing issues and the pace of sales for Tesla in China amid an uncertain approach to the country's COVID-19 policies in addition to competition in the EV space that has only intensified this year — raising the risk of slowing growth for Tesla in 2023 and beyond.

"I believe Tesla is one of the most transformational companies over the next five, six years along with Apple," Ives added. "And that's why it's a fundamental bullish view. But no doubt, I think the clock struck 12:00 in terms of patience wearing thin [on Musk]. And I think that's what you start to see with a capitulation in Tesla in a risk-off market."

This post has been updated with the results of the poll and new comments from Ives.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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