Investor's Corner

Tesla shorts on edge following $1.1 billion loss

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) short-sellers are down $1.1 billion in mark-to-market losses after TSLA stock rose 9.7% on Wednesday. The surge in the electric car and energy company’s shares comes on the heels of a successful 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting, where CEO Elon Musk expressed an optimistic outlook in the Model 3’s production and Tesla Energy’s budding energy storage business.

Tesla is currently the most-shorted U.S. equity and the most-shorted stock worldwide in the Automobile Manufacturing Sector, with 37.7 million shares shorted and $11 billion in short interest as of Wednesday, according to a recent report from S3 Partners. Over the first five months of 2018, Tesla shorts saw substantial returns, up $572 million or 5.53% in mark-to-market profits. Since May 22, however, Tesla short-sellers are down $1.7 billion in mark-to-market losses as the company’s shares rose by 16.6%, turning a profitable year into the third straight year of Tesla short-selling losses. Wednesday’s 9.7% rally generated $1.1 billion in mark-to-market losses for $11 billion of TSLA short interest.

Overall, the financial technology firm expects Tesla’s short interest to decline as some short-sellers cut their positions after incurring $1.1 billion in mark-to-market losses. Considering the conviction that has been exhibited by dedicated Tesla shorts over the years, however, analysts at S3 Partners expect that a significant number of short-sellers will still hold on to their positions.

Tesla’s long-term investors are now looking to the company’s stock reaching $350 per share as the company achieves its target of producing 5,000 Model 3 per week by the end of Q2 2018 — a milestone that Musk dubbed during the recently-held Annual Shareholder Meeting as “likely” to happen.

Wednesday’s 9.7% rally stands as Tesla’s biggest percentage gain since November 4, 2015. The stock closed at $319.50, marking the best close of the company’s shares since March 16 this year and making it the best performer on the Nasdaq 100 during Wednesday’s trading.

Apart from Musk’s optimism regarding the production numbers of the Model 3, a critical factor that appears to have resonated among Tesla’s shareholders was the company’s growing energy business. Earlier this week, Tesla CTO JB Straubel stated that the company has managed to deploy 1 GWh of energy storage worldwide to date. During the 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting, Elon Musk noted that in less than a year, Tesla would be able to do another Gigawatt project, followed by even more growth in the years to come.

“In less than a year from now, we will do another Gigawatt (project). The rate of stationary storage deployment is going to grow exponentially. For many years to come, each incremental year will be about as much as all the preceding years, which is a crazy, crazy growth rate,” Musk said during the Annual Shareholder Meeting.

Elon Musk predicted a “short burn” after the company’s now-infamous Q1 2018 earnings call. In a series of updates on Twitter, Musk reiterated his expectation that Tesla would start seeing profits sometime in Q3 or Q4 2018, while stating that the “short burn of the century” would be coming soon. During that time, Musk noted that the deliveries of the Boring Company’s “Not-a-Flamethrowers” would come just in time. Interestingly, a handover party for the first 1,000 Not-a-Flamethrowers is set for this coming Saturday, June 9, at Los Angeles, just a few days after Tesla shorts took a $1.1 billion blow.

As of writing, Tesla stock is trading down 0.32% at $318.49 per share on Thursday’s pre-market trading.

Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.

Tesla shorts on edge following $1.1 billion loss
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