Investor's Corner

Tesla slump gives shorts $3.5B profit, but they’re still losing big

Credit: Tesla Pittsburgh

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) has had a rare down streak of days during trading sessions in the final full week of February. As a result, short-sellers of the automaker’s stock have pocketed a $3.5 billion profit, but they’re still losing big in the grand scheme of things.

For the week, Tesla is down around $79, or 10.37% at the time of writing. It is uncommon to see Tesla in the red, especially after the automaker turned the uncertainty of 2020 into its biggest and most successful year in company history.

However, volatility struck, and the company has suffered a streak of days that have turned the week into one Tesla investors will want to forget. Inversely, short-sellers of Elon Musk’s company are finally getting something to celebrate as new data from Ortex, an analytics firm, shows that they have made $3.5 billion this week.

Ortex data says (via Reuters):

“Short-sellers are sitting on estimated profits of $3.5 billion from their bearish positions on Tesla shares in the past seven days, as of Feb 23, data from financial analytics firm Ortex showed on Thursday.”

A rare victory for the skeptics of Elon Musk’s car company, Tesla’s short-sellers are still down around $35 billion since the beginning of 2020. Last year, data showed that those who bet against Tesla in the stock market lost close to $40 billion after a 700% surge in the automaker’s stock sent the company into the stratosphere. Short-sellers couldn’t say the same, as some admitted that Tesla’s performance on Wall Street was one of the major contributors to their portfolio’s value fluctuation.

One of these was David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital Re, who has held verbal spats with Musk in the past. During Greenlight’s Q4 2020 report, Einhorn admitted he was happy with his firm’s performance during the tough year. However, Tesla ruined Einhorn’s 2020 from being one of the best in his career as an investor, as “Tesla mania,” as he called it, also spoiled his Q3 Earnings report.

Who Wears Short Shorts: David Einhorn’s Ghost Hunt for Tesla’s Weakness

“Tesla cars are not a fad; if they were, Tesla would sell many more than it does,” the Greenlight Capital Q4 2020 Earnings Letter said. “The fad is in owning TSLA stock. We have equipped before that twice a silly stock price is not twice as silly; it’s still just silly. But what about 20 times a silly price? In the 2000 internet bubble, Cisco Systems peaked out at 29x revenue, which would be a discount to where TSLA now trades.”

Tesla shares are trading at $682.22 currently. The drop has been attributed to surging commodities, Tesla’s investment in Bitcoin experiencing a slight pullback, and perhaps the news of Model 3 lines being shut down temporarily at the Fremont factory.

Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder.

Tesla slump gives shorts $3.5B profit, but they’re still losing big
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