According to a report by Hazeltree, Tesla has maintained its position as the most shorted large-cap stock in the United States for three consecutive months. Shorting a stock involves betting on its price to decrease.
The electric vehicle company saw a boost in its stock earlier this week when Morgan Stanley highlighted its potential market value increase with its Dojo supercomputer. Tesla share prices rallied by more than 5% on Monday.
Charter Communications and Apple were the second and third most shorted stocks in August, respectively.
Different strategies were employed by investors involved in shorting Tesla. Research firm Whale Wisdom compiled data showing that various funds took long and short positions in the stock. Some sought to offset market risk by trading different asset classes, such as AQR Capital Management and Federated Hermes.
A recent biography of Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that Bill Gates holds a short position on Tesla. Musk criticized Gates on social media on Monday, arguing that shorting Tesla only yields high returns if the company goes bankrupt.
Just so that the public understands:
Taking out a short position against Tesla, as Gates did, results in the highest return only if a company goes bankrupt!
Gates placed a massive bet on Tesla dying when our company was at one of its weakest moments several years ago. Such a…
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 11, 2023
Hedge funds have heavily shorted US stocks in recent weeks, resulting in the highest value of short bets in the past six months. According to EnergyPortal, hedge funds were net short on consumer discretionary stocks, which includes Tesla.
Shorting Tesla has proven challenging for some investors. Dan Izzo, founder of Blackbird Capital hedge fund, admitted to losing money in his attempts to short Tesla.
There are several reasons why investors keep shorting Tesla.
A major cause for investor shorting is concern about Tesla vehicle safety. Tesla is currently under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its Autopilot feature, which is alleged to have caused an unusually high number of crashes.
Investors are also worried about Tesla’s profitability. The electric vehicle maker has been aggressively cutting prices in recent weeks. For instance, Tesla reduced the price of US Model 3 vehicles by $5,500 in late August.
Overall, it seems that Tesla’s position as the most shorted large-cap stock is unlikely to diminish anytime soon.