Tesla bull and “Big Short” inspiration Michael Burry has ditched his bet against the electric automaker’s stock. In an emailed statement to CNBC on Friday, Burry revealed he is no longer betting against Tesla’s stock price, and he claims that he “was never short tens or hundreds of millions” of shares. He stated media reports inflated and exaggerated the situation.
In May, Burry’s firm Scion Asset Management had placed 800,100 put options on Tesla shares as of the end of Q1, according to a regulatory filing with the SEC. The specifics of the put options, including their value and other details, were not available. However, Tesla stock closed at $667.93 at the end of Q1, givingBurry’ss share value an estimated worth of $534 million, but the value of the options position was never disclosed, according to Reuters.
Burry was vocally bearish against Tesla stock. Citing his past expertise in recognizing bubble stocks that were set for a huge downfall, Burry believed that Tesla was the next company to experience a substantial devaluation. Burry regularly Tweeted negative opinions about Tesla stock, only to delete and then deactivate his account shortly after. Burry’s synopsis of Tesla stock included claims that the company’s Bitcoin investment was a “distraction from quality issues” and that investors should “enjoy it while it lasts.”
However, Burry’s analysis of Tesla stock was evidently flawed. The company experienced a 700% increase in stock price in 2020 and has continued to climb up to its previous levels, although not at an accelerated rate like last year. Tesla stock has climbed over 11% in the past month, trading at $843.03 at market close on Friday evening.
Burry said in an emailed statement that his position was not as severe as media reports claimed. “No, it was a trade,” he said. “Media really inflated the value of these things. I was never short tens or hundreds of millions of any of these things through options, as was reported. The options bets were extremely asymmetric, and the media was off by orders of magnitude.”
Tesla bears are quick to shoot claims of fraudulent behavior, a busted growth story, or an imminent collapse of the automaker’s stock. However, arrogance has been the fall of many brilliant men. Bears that have experienced high-magnitude losses due to their bet against Tesla have pulled out of their positions, some admitting defeat and tipping their caps to Tesla and CEO Elon Musk.
Short interest on Tesla stock has actually fallen off quite heavily compared to previous levels. Tesla has long been one of the most heavily shorted stocks on Wall Street. However, a recent analysis from IHS Markit Ltd. showed that short-sellers are a rare breed. Just 1.1% of available Tesla shares are borrowed by trades, which is a standard measure of short interest. This was a record low, according to the IHS analysis.
Short interest had fallen to 31.4 million in December, as, just eleven months earlier in January 2020, it was at its peak of 93.6 million.