Tesla Shares Top $300 Billion Market Cap As Bulls Eye S&P 500 Entry; Bears Amass $20 Billion Short Position

Tesla has become both the world's most valuable company and the world's most bet-against stock heading into a second quarter earnings report that could cement its inclusion into the S&P 500.
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Tesla Inc.  (TSLA) - Get Report shares extended gains to a fresh record high Monday, pushing the value of the clean-energy carmaker past $330 billion, as investors continue to bet that the stock is headed for inclusion in the S&P 500.

Tesla will be eligible for inclusion in the benchmark once it's published four consecutive quarters of profitability, a feat many investors expect when its second quarter earnings are released after the market closes on July 22. 

Tesla took a giant step towards that goal last week when its reported stronger-than-expected quarterly deliveries of 90,650 units, a figure that topped Street forecasts even amid a six week shutdown of the carmaker's Freemont, California production facility and a sharp 34% decline in overall U.S. auto sales. 

Tesla shares were marked 14.14% higher in pre-market trading Monday to indicate an opening bell price of $1,763.05 each, a fresh all-time high that would extend the stock's six month gain past 210% and value the Palo Alto, California based carmaker at around $330 billion.

Should Tesla gain entry into the S&P 500, it will carry a market cap that would sit just below that of Procter & Gamble  (PG) - Get Report and Mastercard  (MA) - Get Report, placing it just outside the benchmark's top ten.  

Tesla's gains, which many are attributing to index-tracking funds purchasing shares ahead of its S&P 500 inclusion, have also attracted the largest-ever amount of cash bet against a stock on Wall Street.

Short-sellers, which hope for a near-term decline in a stock in order to buy it back more cheaply and book the profits, have amassed a near $20 billion position against Tesla shares, according to data from the S3 Partners group and first reported by Bloomberg.

"The reason behind Tesla’s short squeeze is obvious and straight forward, large mark-to-market losses are forcing out some short sellers as they hit their loss limit thresholds," S3 said. 

"Tesla shorts are down -$18.08 billion in year-to-date net-of-financing mark-to-market losses. 43% of those losses occurred in just over five weeks of trading with -$3.71 billion on mark-to-market losses in June and -$4.08 billion of mark-to-market losses in July," the group added.