Tesla haters who 'short' the stock have lost $1 Billion since the new year

Tesla [NASDAQ: TSLA] has been confounding Wall Street's naysayers. According to Schaeffer's Investment Research, "Tesla stock was trading near its highest levels since late October earlier — topping out at $349 — after JPM reported on the company's private investor meeting at the Detroit Auto Show. The brokerage firm said TSLA's head of investment relations indicated Model 3 production will reach 1,000 cars per week this month — an increase from fourth-quarter numbers, with the recent bottleneck issues resolved."

Above: Tesla's Model 3 (Instagram: havitznlbe)

Speculation? Hard to say. Either way, Elon Musk continues his ongoing battle with Tesla's short sellers — those on Wall Street who bet against the company. And these short sellers are taking a massive hit this year. Marketwatch reports, "Tesla Inc.’s roaring start to the year has left short sellers about $1 billion in the red."

This represents quite the comeback as: "Tesla shares overcame steep losses and a rocky late 2017, when the Silicon Valley car maker was beset by doubts about its ability to produce the Model 3 in larger numbers, to rise more than 12% so far this month. That compares with a 4.6% gain for the S&P 500 index."

Above: A look at Tesla's other vehicles — the Model X and Model S (Instagram: ted_snap)

It's reported that, "Short interest in Tesla stock—money betting on a stock decline—is around $10.88 billion currently, said Matthew Unterman, a director at S3 Partners, a financial analytics company that has access to and tracks real-time short interest data. That would peg Tesla’s short interest at 23.5% of the free float, he said."

Yet Tesla's stock performance has punished these short sellers: "S3 Partners calculate that Tesla short sellers have a mark-to-market loss of around $1.1 billion since the start of the year... [and] for 2017, short sellers had a mark-to-market loss on Tesla of $3.57 billion, on an average short position of $9.42 billion, S3 Partners said." 


Above: Back in 2012, Elon Musk once cautioned that "it's very unwise to be shorting Tesla" (Youtube: Sival Teokal)

According to S3 Partners, "Tesla is the third largest worldwide short." Nevertheless, Tesla continues to outperform the market: "Tesla shares have gained 46% in the past 12 months, while the S&P has risen 23%." Is this Déjà vu? Indeed. In 2012, Elon Musk had warned shorts [see above] that a "tsunami of hurt" was coming for those who bet against the company back when Tesla's Model S was ramping up its production.