Tesla Short Interest Surges to More Than Double at Peak Pandemic

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) saw its short interest rise slightly into the most recent settlement date, even though the stock has been correcting recently. Note that the number of shares short was nearly triple that of a year ago.

Short sellers increased their positions in the two-week period ending on March 15 to 44.73 million. In the previous period, 44.00 million shares were short.

A year ago, just 16.16 million Tesla shares were sold short. One contributing factor to the rise over the past year has been that Tesla has issued millions of shares in secondary offerings and even conducted a stock split. Furthermore, the stock has risen about 524% over the past 52 weeks.

Tesla stock currently has an average daily volume of 44.10 million shares, so it would take short sellers about a day to cover their positions.

24/7 Wall St. recently reported on Tesla:

One new feature of the autonomous driving capabilities making their way into new vehicles is an in-vehicle camera that is intended to make sure the driver is paying attention to the road. Most automakers that offer self-driving systems use closed-loop cameras that do not record, save or transmit data or video to the automaker or anyone else.

According to Consumer Reports, an exception is Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA). The company’s Model 3 and Model Y vehicles include a driver-facing camera that Tesla calls the cabin camera. It can record video and share it with the company. The camera is turned off by default, but the company says in its software release notes and on its website that if the camera is activated, Tesla “will use the camera to capture and share images and video of a crash or other safety-related incident” with the company.

It is arguable whether that’s solely a safety feature. Kelly Funkhouser, the magazine’s program manager for vehicle interface testing, said that Tesla may be using its cabin camera for other reasons…

Tesla stock traded near $625 Thursday morning. The 52-week trading range is $89.28 to $900.40, and the consensus price target is $621.50.

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