Tesla Short Interest Rises, Consumer Reports Cuts Rating

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Short interest in Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) for the period ending April 13 totaled 31.58 million shares, up from the 31.35 million shares (0.7%) short reported in the prior period. Just over 27% of the company’s shares are short, even as Tesla continues to challenge General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) to become the U.S.-based carmaker with the highest market cap. GM still leads with a market cap of $51.34 billion to Tesla’s $51.16 billion.

This morning, Consumer Reports magazine announced that it has lowered its rating on Tesla’s Model S sedan and on the Model X SUV because Tesla has not enabled new models with an automatic emergency braking (AEB) safety feature that the company promised would be standard on new cars.

According to the magazine, Tesla says it expects the software update to be available Thursday.

Here’s how the rating change affects the two cars:

The Tesla Model S loses two points in the ratings, dropping to a score of 85, from 87. The original higher score was based on the AEB system in the earlier version of the Model S. The new lower score moves the ranking from the top spot in the ultra-luxury car category to third behind the Lexus LS and BMW 7 Series, among the seven cars rated.

For the Tesla Model X, the score drops to 56 from 58, moving it to near the bottom of the luxury midsized SUV category.

Tesla has far outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up nearly 66% since last December, compared with a gain of just over 13% for the Nasdaq Composite. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is up 23.7%, compared with a gain of nearly 22.8% for the Nasdaq Composite and about 14.2% for the S&P 500.

The electric carmaker is scheduled to release first-quarter results on next Wednesday, May 3, and analysts are expecting a net loss of $0.82 per share on revenues of $2.6 billion.

Tesla stock closed up about 1.9% on Tuesday, at $313.79 in a 52-week range of $178.19 to $313.98. The high was posted Tuesday. In the two-week short interest period to April 13, Tesla stock gained nearly 13%. Shares traded down about 0.5% in Wednesday’s premarket session at $312.35. The 12-month consensus price target is $263.12.