On the cusp of the launch of Tesla Inc.'s (TSLA) Model 3, Elon Musk can soon prove wrong the naysayers who doubt his ability to ship 500,000 of the mass model car next year.
Musk's cult of personality has attracted investors who seem to believe they will make their fortune betting with him. However, there is another group that believes with equal or greater conviction that they will get rich by betting against the Tesla founder.
"While it seems there is the 'cult of Tesla' on the long side with its stock price soaring on every whiff of good news, there apparently is also a 'cult of Tesla shorts' which refuses to give up on their thesis and has continued to increase their short exposure in the face of a supercharged price rally," said S3 Partners, LLC Head of Research Ihor Dusaniwsky. "I look at the short side of the market, and Tesla, being the largest U.S. short has been a topic of mine for several years."
Musk is the Steve Jobs of everything from electric cars and solar power (Tesla), to exploring space (SpaceX) and constructing network of tunnels to eradicate "the problem of soul-destroying traffic" (Boring Co.). He is a celebrity-executive who dates movie stars and conveys an entrepreneurial vision and ambition that might seem naively idealistic if he weren't a self-made billionaire. Alone among Trump's tech cadre, Musk abandoned the White House technology council when the President pulled out of the Paris climate agreement.
If Musk defies the conventions of the automotive and aerospace industries and politics, why should Tesla stock be limited by such quotidian concerns as cash burn and production targets?