Tesla is crushing the stock market - even as traders are betting big against it
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press
- Tesla's stock has soared 45% since its 2018 closing low in early October. The S&P 500 has fallen 9% over the same time.
- Tesla is the most heavily shorted US-listed stock, according to data from S3 Partners.
- Watch Tesla trade live here.
Even as Tesla remains the most shorted US-listed stock, it's beating the broader market by a mile.
Tesla has soared 45% since putting in its 2018 closing low of $250.56 in early October. The S&P 500 has fallen 8% over the same time. Shares are now trading near $366, about 6.6% below their all-time high hit in June 2017.
All the while, Tesla remains the most heavily shorted stock in America, measured by short interest in US dollars, according to S3 Partners, a financial technology and analytics firm. Much to the chagrin of CEO Elon Musk, investors currently have a short position of nearly $10.4 billion, according to the firm's analysis.
Musk has been infamously vocal about short sellers targeting his company. "These guys want us to die so bad they can taste it," he tweeted in June of last year. "What they do should be illegal," he said on Twitter in October, four days before the stock hit its 2018 low.
"Overall, Tesla shorts are a very stubborn bunch, even though they are down $6.5 billion in mark-to-market losses since 2016," Ihor Dusaniwsky, S3's managing director of predictive analytics, wrote to Business Insider in an email on Monday.
Trends within Tesla's short-seller landscape have indeed shifted this year. Two measures of Tesla's short interest were at 2018 lows last week, according to IHS Markit.
The stock's recent surge has not been the result of a short squeeze, Dusaniwsky said. A so-called short squeeze comes about when investors rush to cover bets against a security, adding to upward pressure in the asset.
The dramatic move in a relatively short period of time may have come from two key fundamental drivers.
Then in early November, Tesla said Australian telecom executive Robyn Denholm, already a director on the board, would replace Musk as its chair. The move appeared to assuage some investors' anxiety about leadership at the company. Tesla's stock was up nearly 5% since the appointment.
Tesla was up 17% this year.
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