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Tesla becomes 3rd most-shorted stock behind AMZN, AAPL as Q3 rush begins

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) recently lost its place as the No.1 most shorted company in the US stock market, giving away the position to Amazon. Even more recently, Apple also overtook Tesla in the US market’s rankings for most-shorted companies, making the electric car maker as the 3rd most-shorted stock in the US market as of writing.

The updates to Tesla’s short interest was posted yesterday by S3 Partners LLC Managing Director of Predictive Analytics Ihor Dusaniwsky, who shared Tesla’s latest stats on Twitter. Dusaniwsky noted that Tesla’s short interest currently stands at $9.6 billion, which corresponds to 31.83 million shares, or 24.96% of the company’s float. The S3 Managing Director also noted that Tesla shorts are currently up $1.68 billion since Elon Musk announced his intentions to take the company private last month. 

Tesla’s latest stats on its short interest shows what appears to be a slight yet consistent decline in the number of TSLA shares that are held short. Just last week, for example, the S3 Partners executive noted that Tesla’s short interest stood at $9.83 billion, which translates to around 32.43 million shares, or 25.43% of the company’s float.

Back in May, there were 39 million TSLA shares that were held short — the highest in Tesla’s history. That being said, as Tesla started to find its footing with the production of the Model 3, the number of Tesla shares that are held short have seen a steady decline, dropping to 34.9 million shares at the end of July. Even amidst the controversy surrounding Elon Musk’s attempt to take Tesla private in August, Tesla’s short interest seems to have continued its slight decline, falling to 32.7 million shares by the middle of the month.

Tesla is currently attempting to hit its Model 3 production targets for the third quarter. After hitting its then-elusive goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 per week at the end of Q2 2018, Tesla is now looking to sustain and ramp the manufacturing of the electric sedan. This is highlighted in the company’s production target of building 50,000-55,000 Model 3 in Q3 2018.  As of Friday last week, reports have claimed that Tesla had produced more than 34,700 Model 3 in the quarter so far. That’s less than 16,000 vehicles away from the lower end of the company’s Q3 target for the Model 3.

The final months of Tesla’s quarters usually correspond to unorthodox measures that the company adopts to meet its self-imposed targets. Back in Q1 2018, Tesla’s goal was only to build 2,500 Model 3 in a week — a feat that was almost achieved after a seven-day blitz that saw the company manufacture just over 2,000 of the electric cars in one week. In Q2 2018, Tesla adopted even more radical strategies to hit its goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 per week. Some of these strategies involved building GA4, an entirely new assembly line set up at the grounds of the Fremont factory, as well as air-freighting robots and equipment from Europe to the United States to quickly address production bottlenecks in Gigafactory 1.

With these in mind, it would not be surprising if Tesla initiates an aggressive push for the Model 3 and its operations this September. With less than four weeks to go before the end of Q3, and with the company actively trying to become profitable this quarter, the coming days would likely be very compelling. 

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

Tesla becomes 3rd most-shorted stock behind AMZN, AAPL as Q3 rush begins
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