Tesla (TSLA) short-sellers feel $12.2 billion blow in 2023

Credit: Tesla Asia/X

Following a victorious 2022, Tesla short-sellers endured a brutal 2023. Over the course of the year, Tesla short-sellers watched their bets against the electric carmaker implode to the tune of $12.2 billion, the most of any company last year, as per analytics firm S3 Partners. Tesla stock more than doubled in value over 2023.

Short-sellers as a whole did not have a good 2023. US stock indices ended the year near record highs, resulting in short sellers across the board being hit with estimated losses of $194.8 billion. From this number, Tesla’s blow against short-sellers stood out, as it dwarfed the combined losses inflicted by large tech companies such as Microsoft and Meta.

To be fair, Tesla has always attracted the attention of short-sellers, many of whom have maintained their critical stance against the EV maker until today. Shorts even had a huge year in 2022 as they made a profit of $15.9 billion amidst Tesla stock’s 65% decline during the year. Yet as per S3 Partners data, Tesla shorts have still lost significantly more than they gained through the years. 

Since Tesla went public in 2010, short-sellers have suffered a net loss of $61.8 billion. In a comment to CNN, Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director at S3 Partners, joked that short-sellers definitely felt the pain over the years. “That’s going to leave a mark,” Dusaniwsky noted. 

While Tesla is undoubtedly the market’s leader in all-electric vehicles today, the company still has a dedicated group of short-sellers who are dedicated to betting against the electric vehicle maker. Dan Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, noted that every year, bears remain attracted to Tesla.

“Every year, the bears come out of hibernation mode and think, ‘This is the year that Tesla shares collapse.’ The bears view it as an automobile company that should trade at a valuation a multiple of GM or Toyota. The bulls such as myself believe it’s a disruptive technology company. And that’s the Wall Street consensus view,” Ives said. 

Elon Musk, for his part, has expressed his disdain for short-sellers in the past. He has expressed these sentiments directly on X, then known as Twitter, and through more humorous means, such as dedicated “short shorts” merchandise in the official Tesla Shop. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us with news tips. Just send a message to simon@teslarati.com to give us a heads up.

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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