Investor's Corner

Tesla shares (TSLA) are far more bullish than short-term investors realize

Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been hit hard since April, with its share price down 9% year-to-date. Compared to the S&P 500, which is up roughly 2% this year, Tesla’s stocks are undoubtedly challenged.

While there is no doubt that Tesla’s share price has been beleaguered since April, TSLA’s weak performance could actually be somewhat bullish, especially when one looks into the historical trends of the electric car and energy company’s stock performance. Below is a chart depicting TSLA’s weekly trading action since 2012.

TSLA’s long-term weekly chart since 2012. [Credit: The Street]

Tesla’s stock price has been trending up and to the right since 2012. The Street noted that even without the sudden spike in early 2013 when the company went to market on its first all-electric sedan, Model S, shares of TSLA have exhibited an uptrend that is difficult to discount. Every time TSLA hits trendline support, shareholders have stepped forward to bid shares higher. This particular trend has been consistent since the summer of 2013.

The relative strength of TSLA shares is also noticeable in the chart above. Relative strength measures TSLA’s shares against the broad market, and as could be seen in the graph, the trend is also steadily pointing up to the right since 2013. This shows that Tesla has actually been outperforming the rest of the market over the past few years, despite being heavily shorted.

Tesla’s relative strength line appears to be testing its own uptrend once more. The last time this happened, it was November 2016, and as could be seen in TSLA’s long-term chart, the company’s shares could very well be on the verge of beating the rest of the S&P 500 again.

TSLA’s short-term weekly chart since 2017. [Credit: The Street]

A look into TSLA’s charts since 2017 could provide a clue as to how Tesla shares can get back on its feet again. A good number of Tesla investors have been focused on the intermediate-term trend, which is represented by the red line in TSLA’s short-term chart. At lower levels, however, TSLA shares have been looking constructive so far, forming an ascending triangle pattern with a breakout level at $310 per share.

If Tesla shares push beyond the $310 barrier, the company could keep its short-term momentum steady. Hitting the $310 mark will also be in line with the relative strength that TSLA has been exhibiting since 2013.

Amid reservations about the company’s capability to prevent a capital raise this year, recent reports have emerged that Hedge fund giant and billionaire George Soros, through his investment firm Soros Fund Management LLC, has taken a $35 million stake in Tesla’s convertible bonds during the first three months of 2018, as revealed by filings to the SEC.

TSLA’s recent challenges have sated the appetite of short-sellers, making the company the most-shorted business in the stock market today by the amount of equity at stake, with 38,258,654 shares held short as of 4/9/18.  It is steadily becoming more and more expensive to keep a short position in the electric car maker’s stocks, however. In a research note published earlier this month, S3 Partners analyst Ihor Dusaniwsky called the bottom on short-selling activity, noting that the costs of keeping a short position have risen to 3.69% compared to 1% last December.

As of writing, Tesla shares are trading up 0.36% at $287.50 per share.

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

Tesla shares (TSLA) are far more bullish than short-term investors realize
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