Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares have been locked in depressed levels since the rally seen in the first half of the year. The lackluster phase reflects the company’s fundamentals, which have suffered amid an inclement economy and Tesla’s aggressive pricing-cutting spree.
It therefore doesn’t come as a surprise that bearish bets on the stock abound on Wall Street. Tesla’s Elon Musk on Thursday came down hard on the short-sellers in a post on X.
What Happened: A X platform user and Tesla influencer shared a screenshot of a trading disclosure filed by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) that showed four transactions in the electric vehicle giant’s stock.
The senator sold Tesla stock, amounting to $1,001-$15,000, and bought three tranches of put options, each valued at $1,001-$15,000. All four transactions happened on Oct. 17, a day ahead of the company’s quarterly results. From around $255 that day, the stock pulled back to a low of $199 toward the end of the month. The put options had a strike price of $190 with an expiration date of Dec. 15, 2023.
Put options are bearish bets made based on the expectation that a stock will drop.
The Tesla influencer noted that Tesla is the world’s number one short. About 84 million shares of Tesla were held as short at the end of October, with the shorted shares as a percentage of outstanding shares at an elevated 2.65%, according to data provided by Yahoo Finance.
Replying to the post, Musk said, “They’re gluttons for punishment.”
They’re gluttons for punishment
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 17, 2023
Why It’s Important: This is not the first time Musk has taken aim at Tesla shorts. In a biography written by Walter Isaacson that was published earlier this year, the billionaire was quoted calling short sellers “leeches on the neck of businesses.”
“They organized themselves into a shorty ground force and a shorty air force. The degree of inside information they had was insane,” he supposedly said.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates also infamously had a short bet against Tesla, according to Isaacson. In the past, Musk has on multiple occasions called Gates a hypocrite who projects himself as a climate evangelist but shorted shares of Tesla, which strives to reduce emissions.
Tesla ended Friday’s session up 0.30% at $234.30, according to Zenger News Pro data.
Produced in association with Benzinga