By Mark DeCambre
Cathie Wood isn’t pleased about one of her most popular investments, Tesla Inc., being excluded from a prominent index that tracks eco- and socially friendly companies.
“Ridiculous,” was essentially Wood’s terse response to news that the S&P 500 ESG Index has dropped Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle maker Tesla /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +1.24% from its lineup, as a part of its annual rebalancing.
“While Tesla may be playing its part in taking fuel-powered cars off the road, it has fallen behind its peers when examined through a wider ESG lens,” wrote Margaret Dorn, senior director and head of ESG indices, North America, at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a blog post dated Tuesday.
The announcement from S&P Dow Jones Indices might come as a shock to some, given that the vehicle manufacturer is seen as a pioneer of producing EVs for the masses, perhaps laying the groundwork for large manufacturers such as Ford Motor /zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite F +1.71% and General Motors Co. /zigman2/quotes/205226835/composite GM +1.35% , who are racing to compete with Tesla in EVs on a bigger scale after badly falling behind Musk & Co. in the low-carbon category.
Dorn makes the case that a couple of the factors contributing to Tesla’s exclusion were “a decline in criteria-level scores” related to its low-carbon strategy and its “codes of business conduct.”
Tesla has been one of the biggest and most successful investments for Wood, the CEO of ARK Investment Management, whose bullishness on disruptive companies like Tesla helped propel her to fame on Wall Street.
However, Wood’s flagship fund has been unhinged by the downturn, which has capsized much of the market in growth-oriented, technology and tech-related investments.
Wood’s flagship ARK Innovation ETF /zigman2/quotes/204808965/composite ARKK +3.36% has tumbled about 74% from its peak back in mid-February 2021, and is down more than 56% thus far in 2022.
Tesla’s stock has fallen more than 42% since its recent peak in early November. Shares of the EV maker are off 33% so far in 2022.
Meanwhile, Ford and GM’s stocks are both down by about 38% year to date, with the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.06% down almost 18% so far this year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +1.05% off more than 13% and the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.90% down 27%.
Musk also had thoughts on Tesla’s exclusion from the ESG index: