Just a few days after Elon Musk took to Twitter and said that Tesla bears should prepare for the “short burn of the century,” the Tesla CEO put his money where his mouth is and snatched up nearly $10 million in Tesla shares. According to a Form 4 filing with the SEC, Musk on Monday acquired $9.85 million worth of Tesla stock, thus bringing his total stake in the company to about 20%.
Musk’s purchase comes just a few days after Tesla shares plummeted following a somewhat bizarre interaction on Tesla’s earnings conference call. If you recall, Musk refused to answer a question about the likelihood of Tesla requiring an infusion of capital. Instead, Musk told the analyst who asked the question: “Excuse me. Next. Boring bonehead questions are not cool. Next?”
Though Musk later apologized for being dismissive, he qualified his answer by stating that the question was asked by a sell-side analyst with a “short seller thesis, not an investor.”
“The reason the Bernstein question about CapEx was boneheaded was that it had already been answered in the headline of the Q1 newsletter he received beforehand,” Musk added, “along with details in the body of the letter.”
Musk, clearly, has no patience for those keen on shorting Tesla stock and has routinely cautioned investors that betting against Tesla is a risky move. Just a few days ago, Musk, in typical fashion, said via Twitter: “The sheer magnitude of short carnage will be unreal. If you’re short, I suggest tiptoeing quietly to the exit …”
Musk’s comments notwithstanding, short interest in Tesla shares remains incredibly high.
As Barron’s noted a few days ago:
Short interest in the stock increased by nearly 400,000 shares on May 3, the day after the [earnings] report, bringing the total to more than 40 million shares for the first time in Tesla’s history, notes S3 Partners’ Ihor Dusaniwsky.
Looking ahead, we probably won’t have to wait too long to see how Tesla shares move. For starters, we’ll find out in just a few weeks if Tesla will meet its goal of manufacturing 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week by the end of June. Additionally, Tesla during its recent letter to shareholders said it believes it will be able to turn a profit before 2019.