(Reuters) – Jim Chanos, who has been short on Tesla Inc’s stock since 2016, has reduced his bet against the electric-car maker, the short-seller told Bloomberg News on Thursday.
The billionaire hedge fund manager told Bloomberg News he has never met or had a conversation with Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of Tesla, but if they were to meet he would say “job well done so far.” (https://bloom.bg/2VuaESO)
The change in tone from the bearish investor comes ahead of Tesla’s entry into the S&P 500 benchmark index on Dec. 21.
“Obviously this is not being valued as a car company, it’s being valued on Musk … he’s the reason people own the stock,” Chanos had said in 2017. (https://reut.rs/3qmx5HP)
Chanos did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Tesla’s stock has risen nearly seven-fold this year. Its shares were up nearly 5% on Thursday, a move which has resulted in $1.33 billion in mark-to-market losses for those betting against the stock, according to financial analytics firm S3 Partners.
A short sale involves borrowing of shares by an investor who then sells them expecting to buy back at a lower price to pay back the loan.
Short interest on Tesla is currently at $27.37 billion, or 6.35% of its outstanding shares, according to S3.
“We are seeing short sellers hold and build their positions in the hopes of making back some of their losses hoping for a year-end swoon in Tesla’s stock price,” said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of Predictive Analytics at S3.
“By the beginning of 2021 we should be able to see whether it’s the Tesla longs or Tesla shorts that are on Santa’s naughty or nice lists.”
(Reporting by Chavi Mehta and Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Sriraj Kalluvila)