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Tesla’s stock (TSLA) reaches all-time high as shorts ‘feel the pain’

After Tesla’s stock (TSLA) reached new all-time high on strong sales earlier this month, it nudged a few step back over the month, but today it’s back at testing new highs. It was trading at $313 at the time of writing.

Important investors who have been betting against the company are now feeling the pain, but some of them, like famed investor David Einhorn, are holding on to their position.

With the new high of $313 today, Tesla is up 46% year-to-date.

During the first quarter of the year, Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital funds returned 1.3% – a fraction of the S&P 500 index return of 6.1%

In a letter to his partners today, Einhorn, who became famous for shorting Lehman Brothers in 2007 before they went bankrupt, credited a short position in Tesla (TSLA) as one of the fund’s “biggest losers” during the quarter.

He wrote:

“It was a difficult quarter to be short the bubble basket, and TSLA in particular. Perhaps as the prospects for tax reform have dimmed, the market has regained enthusiasm for profitless companies that aren’t at risk of paying taxes. A number of these stocks are back in full-blown momentum mode. Analysts continue to raise “target prices” which the market treats as news. The bulls explain that traditional valuation metrics no longer apply to certain stocks. The longs are confident that everyone else who holds these stocks understands the dynamic and won’t sell either. With holders reluctant to sell, the stocks can only go up – seemingly to infinity and beyond. We have seen this before. It’s painful for the shorts, as the TSLA CEO has been happy to remind everyone via Twitter. There was no catalyst that we know of that burst the dot-com bubble in March 2000, and we don’t have a particular catalyst in mind here. That said, the top will be the top, and it’s hard to predict when it will happen. Notably, a number of bubble stocks advanced despite missed expectations and/or falling estimates. The basket is sized appropriately with the understanding that twice a silly price isn’t twice as silly. In due time, we expect these bubbles to pop.”

Einhorn is referencing a tweet from Elon Musk when Tesla’s stock reached its previous high:

It looks like Musk likes to make weather metaphors when it comes to teasing people betting against his company. This time it’s “stormy weather” and the last time Musk commented on the short interest on Tesla’s stock, he warned that anyone holding a stock position against the company will have a “tsunami of hurt” coming for them. During the 12 following months, Tesla’s stock price increased by 461% – much of which was attributed to a short squeeze after Tesla reported its first quarterly profit in Q1 2013.

The latest surge is not as impressive, but as we recently reported, Musk sees a potential for a 10-fold increase in Tesla’s stock price over the next 5 to 10 years.

The two billionaires are clearly at odds here. One is claiming that Tesla will crash and the other claims that it will surge – and of course, they both have an interest in their prediction coming true. Musk owns 22% of Tesla and the size of Einhorn’s short position on the company is not clear, but it must be significant if it can affect his ~$10 billion fund.

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