OK, I admit it. I short Tesla (TSLA - Get Report) on a somewhat regular basis -- and I shorted the stock on Tuesday ahead of the company's third-quarter earnings report, which is due out Wednesday after the bell.
I took out a short position at a $290.45 net basis as the algorithms and Tesla loyalists took the stock as much as 14% higher Tuesday to $297.93 intraday -- a severely overbought level. TSLA rallied after the company moved its earnings release up by a week, presumably because the results will look good. The stock also got a boost when famed short-seller Andrew Left disclosed that he's gone from shorting Tesla to taking a long position in the name.
Now, my short position is currently losing money as I write, but just by a little. Hey, Evel Knievel used to jump canyons in a rocket, while Joey Chestnut downs more than 70 Nathan's hot dogs every Independence Day. In the grand scheme of things, shorting Tesla isn't really all that dangerous, at least relative to those other risky behaviors.
Besides, you might recall that I was the guy who immediately shorted Tesla back on Aug. 7 in response to CEO Elon Musk's now infamous "go-private" tweet storm. That move brought me a Twitter storm of criticism from Musk fans -- but ultimately, my only mistake was to cover my short for a moderate profit when holding onto it even longer would have produced sizable gains.
Do I hate Tesla? Not at all. I just hate the stock's ridiculous volatility, which looks like it's anything but in line with the company's fundamental performance. Its chart doesn't look pretty either, with the pitchfork model pointing downward:
I expect that Tesla to report that its losses per share have significantly improved, and I expect revenues to increase for a sixth consecutive quarter. And cash flow? Well, I'll be waiting to see if TSLA's suppliers have cut the firm a break on requiring timely payments in a bid to keep the company's assembly lines moving.
It's also worth noting that JMP Securities initiated coverage of the name on Wednesday with a "Market Outperform" rating and a $350 price target, which is way above the $290.50 that Tesla is trading at as I write this.
Is that realistic? We'll know soon enough.
For now, here's what I recommend:
The Trade: Short Tesla stock
Target Price: $250
Panic Point: $320
The Ugly Truth: I'll settle for $270 on this trade.
OK, let the Tesla crazies come at me now!