Investor's Corner

Longtime Tesla short-seller bets against stock again despite low short interest

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Longtime short-seller and Tesla skeptic David Einhorn has bought 1,000 put contracts on 100,000 shares of the electric automaker’s stock. Despite short interest being at low levels when compared to historical data, Einhorn is betting against the automaker again.

Einhorn runs a fund known as Greenlight Capital, a “long-short value-oriented hedge fund.” A longtime skeptic of Tesla and Elon Musk, Einhorn has regularly spoken out against the automaker and the CEO, opening and closing short and put positions. He has also had regular public spats with Musk, which led to the CEO sending the hedge fund manager a pair of the notorious Tesla Short Shorts.

Einhorn is now reigniting his bet against Tesla. A 13-F filing with the SEC on Monday confirmed that Einhorn was once again betting against Tesla stock, a position many of even the company’s most skeptical figures have backed away from in the past year. Filings showed Greenlight bought 1,000 put contracts against 100,000 Tesla shares in Q4.

At the time of writing, Tesla shares (NASDAQ: TSLA) were up 4.55%, trading at $915.32 at 2:15 PM on the East Coast. Greenlight Capital did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

After short interest was at an all-time high as recently as May 2021, many short-sellers abandoned their positions by late last year. S3 Partners said that the number of shorted shares had decreased by 50 percent in November 2021 compared to January 2021. Several notable shorts, including Jim Chanos, admitted Musk had done a good job and that they had exited their positions.

Tesla (TSLA) shorts admit defeat, short interest hits record low

It doesn’t appear that much has changed, although there is a slight increase in short interest over the past month. According to MarketBeat.com, a site that tracks short interest based on SEC filings, Tesla short interest has increased by 7.1 percent from January 15 to January 31. The number of shares sold short as of January 31 is 24,060,000 shares.

January 15th showed only 22,460,000 shorted shares.

This is a considerable decrease from where short interest was just a year ago. Filings from the end of January 2021 showed short interest was as high as 52,380,000 shares, well over double current levels.

Tesla held its Q4 2021 Earnings Call on January 26, just before the increase in shorted shares appeared. Tesla shares may have been shorted during this time, as the stock price decreased by over 11.5 percent the day after earnings. Investors seemed to react negatively to the automaker’s plans for 2022, which did not include introducing new vehicle models this year. Tesla beat Wall Street estimates on its financial sheet and turned another profitable quarter.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at [email protected]. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at [email protected].

Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder.

Longtime Tesla short-seller bets against stock again despite low short interest
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