Mr. Musk has previously sold large tranches of Tesla’s stock. Last year, he sold about 15 million shares worth more than $16 billion in two months. Those sales didn’t seem to depress Tesla’s price measurably, though it’s not known if the price would have gone up had it not sold.

Tesla is included in both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite Index. Both indices are not only barometers of stock performance in the United States, but are also reflected in numerous mutual funds that are broadly invested.

The S&P 500, which is considered the reference index in the US, weights companies according to their market value. Tesla is one of the most influential stocks in the index, valued at around $900 billion.

For every dollar Tesla stock fell Tuesday, the S&P 500 lost 0.099 points, according to Howard Silverblatt, a senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. That means Tuesday’s drop in Tesla stock accounted for almost a 10th of the S&P 500’s drop.

“So it had a very big impact,” said Mr. Silverblatt, but “not the biggest.” Apple has far more impact, nearly triple Tesla’s valuation. The stock’s 3.7 percent drop on Tuesday contributed more to the decline in the overall index.

Tesla is a notoriously volatile stock. Tuesday’s 12.2 percent drop was the worst daily drop since Sept. 8, 2020, when it lost about 21 percent of its value. But in the past six months, Tesla shares have twice fallen nearly 12 percent 9 Nov and January 27th.

Something – including Mr. Musk, sometimes – have suggested that Tesla is overvalued. Among those who believe in Tesla’s valuation, which is much higher than its rival automakers relative to the size of its operations, much of the argument hinges on Mr. Musk’s leadership. Even Tesla recognizes this and describes it as a risk in its latest quarterly report: “We are heavily dependent on the services of Elon Musk, Tesla’s techno king and our Chief Executive Officer. Although Mr. Musk spends a lot of time at Tesla and is very active in our management, he does not devote his full time and attention to Tesla.”

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