Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) short-sellers are becoming a rare breed, new data from IHS Markit Ltd., a London-based information company, shows.
For years, Tesla has been among the most shorted stocks on Wall Street. In the past, the company has had vocal critics like David Einhorn, Jim Chanos, Michael Burry, and others. However, $TSLA stock’s incredible run-up over the past two years has caused many of these short sellers to abandon their positions.
While Chanos essentially admitted defeat in an interview this year where he told CEO Elon Musk that he had done a great job, others have remained relatively vocal regarding their positions on Tesla stock. It seems many short sellers have followed in Chanos’ footsteps, as the data shows short levels are at their lowest since 2010 when Tesla went public at $13 per share.
Bloomberg stated in their report of the short interest that just 1.1% of available Tesla shares are borrowed by traders, which is a standard measure of short interest. This is based on IHS Markit’s data as of Thursday, September 30. S3 Partners, another data company that competes with IHS, indicated that their short interest calculations for Tesla stock came in at a slightly higher 3.2%. This is still the lowest-ever recorded short-interest percentage metric that S3 has ever captured for Tesla stock. S3 spokesperson Ihor Dusaniwsky stated that shares shorted decreased by 1.55 million shares last month.
Short interest in Tesla hit record lows in December 2020, when many of the company’s skeptics began to abandon negative positions. At the tail end of last year, Tesla short-sellers suffered an estimated $28.5 billion in losses. Short interest had fallen to 31.4 million in December, as, just eleven months earlier in January 2020, it was at its peak of 93.6 million. 2020, despite being such a challenging year for so many entities, was perhaps Tesla’s most incredible year. It was without a doubt if you go off of stock price alone, which surged over 700% last year.
2021 did not get off to a good start for shorts, either. Some reports had indicated that Tesla short-sellers had lost over $1 billion within the first five days of trading in 2021. In 2020, Tesla shorts felt $38 billion in losses alone.
If history is any indication of what short sellers will feel this year, it could be the reason for such decreased bets against Tesla. The company is coming off of its most successful quarter in history, as it reported 241,300 vehicle deliveries in Q3, with production coming in slightly lower. Both figures were the best in Tesla’s short but storied history, and the company is now within striking distance of attaining one million vehicle deliveries for the year if it can ramp Giga Texas and Giga Berlin production early in Q4.
At the time of writing, Tesla shares were up 1%, trading at $782.59.
Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder.