Tesla holdings slashed by T. Rowe Price funds in latest cuts by investor

FILE PHOTO: The logo of T. Rowe Price Group is pictured at its office in Tokyo, Japan, January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

(Reuters) - T. Rowe Price funds slashed Tesla Inc holdings in the first quarter, data showed on Wednesday, as the institutional investor continued to cut its positions in the electric vehicle maker.

The firm, which has been one of the largest investors in the Silicon Valley company, sold off 92 percent of its prior holdings in the company during the quarter, Refinitiv data showed.

That drop represented the funds for which Refinitiv has data, which may not include all T. Rowe Price funds, which are managed by T. Rowe Price Group Inc.

Neither Tesla nor T. Rowe Price were immediately available to comment after normal business hours.

The data showed sales between the end of last year and March 31 that ranged from 25 percent of holdings in the T. Rowe Price Global Growth Stock Fund to 100 percent of holdings at the Growth Stock Fund, which had held 2.1 million shares.

In total, six funds cut their Tesla holdings by 100 percent.

T. Rowe Price’s next-largest Tesla holding, within the Blue Chip Growth Fund, with 1.8 million shares, was cut by 82 percent.

Most recently, T. Rowe Price reduced its stake in the fourth-quarter of last year by roughly half, ending December with a 5.2 percent stake in the company overall versus 10.12 percent in September.

Shares of Tesla fell 16 percent during the first quarter, a difficult period for the company marked by a sharp drop in deliveries of its Model 3, and Chief Executive Elon Musk’s public battle in the courts with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage in San Francisco and Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker