Tesla stock has surged 40% this year, boosting the electric-vehicle company's market capitalization to a record $1 trillion this week. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk immediately celebrated the milestone, despite dismissing the volatile stock price as a distraction not too long ago.
"Wild $T1mes!" Musk tweeted on Tuesday. He struck a different tone on an earnings call in 2019, when Tesla shares were trading at a split-adjusted $56 - less than 1/18 of their current price.
The stock price was "being set in kind of a manic-depressive way," he complained. "It's a bit of a distraction at times."
The Tesla chief quoted another billionaire executive to underline how meaningless stock moves can be.
"Warren Buffett's analogy is that being a publicly traded company is like having someone stand at the edge of your home and just randomly yell different prices for your house every day," Musk said on the call. "It's still the same house."
Notably, Musk seemed bemused this week that Hertz ordering 100,000 cars resulted in Tesla stock hitting a fresh high. "Strange that moved valuation, as Tesla is very much a production ramp problem, not a demand problem," he tweeted.
It's somewhat surprising that Musk quoted Buffett in 2019, given the Tesla chief has admitted he's not the "biggest fan" of the Berkshire Hathaway CEO, thinks he has "kind of a boring job," and doesn't buy the investor's "kindly grandfather" persona.
Meanwhile, Buffett has praised Musk as a "remarkable guy" but suggested he has "room for improvement" and could be more discerning with his Twitter posts. He also defended the idea of "moats" such as strong brands protecting companies from rivals, after Musk called the concept "kind of lame."
"Elon may turn things upside down in some areas. I don't think he'd want to take us on in candy," Buffett said, referring to Berkshire-owned See's Candies.
"I'm starting a candy company & it's going to be amazing," Musk jokingly tweeted in reply.
Most recently, Musk poked fun at the investor's comparatively small fortune. "Maybe Buffett should invest in Tesla haha," he tweeted.