Investor's Corner

Tesla holds ‘by far’ the most short interest in the market: S3 Partners

Tesla showroom in Brooklyn, New York.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) holds the biggest short interest in the market, according to a new analysis from S3 Partners, a New York City-based data company.

Tesla has always been one of the most shorted companies in the market, and 2021 has treated the electric automaker no different. For a long time, investors like Jim Chanos and David Einhorn have bet against Tesla stock, a move that has not been friendly to their portfolios or their pockets. Last year’s meteoric climb of over 700% burned Tesla’s short-sellers for record numbers. Short interest in late 2020 hit record lows as the stock continued to climb.

In early 2021, their losses accumulated to $1 billion by January 5th, as Tesla stock closed at a then-record high of $729.77.

Over the years, Tesla has not always been the most shorted stock. Companies like Amazon and Apple have also been the subject of particularly increased short interest, and they overtook Tesla as the most-shorted companies in late 2018.

In 2021, the tables are turned back to Tesla. A new analysis from S3 indicates that Tesla is “by far the biggest short in the market,” according to Managing Director of Predictive Analysis for the company, Ihor Dusaniwsky. “It’s been the largest worldwide short for several years now.”

Currently, Tesla’s short interest stands at $22.5 billion as of May 13th, S3 says, according to Yahoo!

Tesla has always held a reputation for being a heavily shorted stock. As 2021 has seen a decrease in Tesla’s stock price by around 20%, the company is reattracting that short interest in vast amounts as bears look to profit from the slow 2021 that the electric automaker has experienced far. Interestingly, Tesla has reported two quarterly Earnings Calls so far this year: Q4 2020 and Q1 2021. Both have extended the company’s streak of profitable quarters, which now stands at seven straight. Additionally, the company reported record production and delivery figures of its vehicles for both quarters. The most recent Q1 2021 performance was exceptionally impressive because Tesla only produced and delivered the Model 3 and Model Y. The Model S and Model X were still undergoing a “refresh,” and Tesla has been focused on retooling lines at the Fremont production facility and refining the vehicles before initial deliveries take place.

Despite the record quarters and healthy financials, Tesla stock has fallen by a fifth so far this year. At the time of writing, the stock was down 4.72%, trading at just over $550 a share.

The drop in stock price has catalyzed more short interest from Tesla bears, Dusaniwsky said. “People are shorting into this downward movement. So they’re actually keeping their bets up by shorting more stock as the stock price goes down.”

Dusaniwsky estimates the total value of the short interest of all stocks that he analyzes is up to $1.1 trillion, up from $990 billion at the end of 2020. The market has not been friendly to investors so far this year. Many companies, especially in the tech sector, struggle to keep their stocks at late-2020 or early-2021 levels.

Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder.

Tesla holds ‘by far’ the most short interest in the market: S3 Partners
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