Tesla short sellers get small reprieve in rough year

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A Tesla car charges at a Supercharger station in Singapore October 22, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su

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NEW YORK, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) short sellers were getting a reprieve on Monday, with the stock edging lower as investors braced for chief Elon Musk to sell some of his stake, but it has been a rough year for those betting against the electric car maker's share price.

So far in 2021, short sellers in Tesla - the biggest short in the stock market - have endured $14.2 billion in realized and unrealized losses, according to Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3 Partners. As of Monday morning, with Tesla shares down nearly 3%, short sellers were up $1.04 billion in such mark-to-market profits on the day, according to S3.

Even with Monday's decline, Tesla shares have soared about 68% so far this year, leading short sellers to scramble and cover their positions.

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The number of Tesla shares shorted stood at 29.5 million, down from 60.6 million at the start of January, S3 said. The short position in Tesla as a percentage of the company's float is down to 3.6% from about 8% at the start of the year.

Still, Tesla's short interest, a measure of the stock's price and number of shares shorted, amounted to nearly $36.1 billion, Dusaniwsky said. That is more than any other stock and twice as large as the next-largest short - Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) at $17.6 billion, according to S3.

Monday's fall for Tesla shares came after Musk's proposed sale of about a tenth of his holdings in the electric-car maker following his Twitter poll. read more

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Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York Editing by Matthew Lewis

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