Investors seeking to bet against Tesla's (TSLA - Get Report) common stock may want to give its convertible bonds a spin, said Edward Silverstein, portfolio manager for the MainStay Convertible fund (MCOAX - Get Report) .
Silverstein is long Tesla's 1.25% convertibles, now trading around 84 cents on the dollar and yielding 4.7%, due in March 2021 and short equal amount of the automaker's common stock, which was trading around $200 at last check.
"The yield on the convertible helps offset the cost of borrowing the shares," said Silverstein. "The bonds should not fall more than 10%, but the stock likely to go down much more, maybe even 50% lower, due to its poor fundamentals."
The MainStay Convertible fund is up 8.3% thus far in 2016, according to Morningstar. The $826 million fund has returned an average of 6.3% annually over the past three years, outpacing 91% of its rivals in Morningstar's convertibles category.
"The company is profitable even when oil is below $50 a barrel and with the convert you get paid to wait for it to move higher," said Silverstein.
Silverstein is also constructive on Intercept Pharmaceuticals' (ICPT - Get Report) recently issued convertible security yielding 3.25% and due 2023. The company recently won approval for Oclavia, a treatment for liver disease and is trying to get approval for treatment for another liver indication that has a much larger treatment population.
"This is a risky and volatile stock but convert is a less risky way to play the equity and collect income," said Silverstein.
Finally, Silverstein is bullish on the Weatherford (WFT) 5.875% convert due 2021. He said the convertible issuance gave the oil services company some breathing room from upcoming debt maturities and allows it to survive into a presumptive recovery in energy prices.
"Holders of the convert get most of the upside of the common plus a large coupon which is great in this low yield environment," said Silverstein. " They also get a relatively short maturity to protect the downside."