Bridgewater, Viking among big hedge funds that added Tesla in fourth quarter before rally

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen at a groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billionaire Ray Dalio's Bridgewater Associates, Viking Global Investors, and Granite Point Capital were among prominent hedge funds placing new bets on electric carmaker Tesla Inc TSLA.O in the fourth quarter, positioning them to gain from its nearly 100% rally over the first six weeks of the year.

The positions were revealed in 13F filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission released on Thursday and Friday, which are one of the few public ways of tracking what hedge fund managers are selling and buying. The disclosures are made 45 days after the end of each quarter and may not reflect current positions.

If each hedge fund had held on to its stake, Bridgewater’s purchase of nearly 45,000 shares would be worth approximately $36 million, while Viking’s purchase of nearly 52,000 shares would be would be worth slightly more than $42 million. Granite Pointe purchased 3,000 shares in the fourth quarter, which would now be worth approximately $2.5 million.

Mutual fund giant T. Rowe Price, meanwhile, revealed that it had doubled its stake in the company in the fourth quarter, to 1.7 million shares.

The moves into Tesla came as the high tech automaker remained among the most divisive stocks on Wall Street. Bullish investors see founder Elon Musk as reinventing the energy business while bears see an unprofitable company that is significantly over-valued. Tesla’s shares were off slightly in afternoon trading in New York on Friday at around $801.00.

Tesla moved ahead of Apple Inc AAPL.O as the most-shorted U.S. company this year, with short investors facing mark-to-market losses of $8.3 billion between the start of January and the first week of February, according to data firm S3 Partners.

Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Tom Brown