Tesla’s stock declined another 8.8% on Thursday, bringing its losses for the year to 64%. This decline has resulted in the loss of more than $800 billion in market capitalization for the electric car manufacturer. The current 69.7% drawdown from its most recent high reached in late 2021 is the largest in Tesla’s corporate history. And this slide has been good news to short-sellers. Data from S3 Partners published Thursday showed that through Wednesday’s close, Tesla was the year’s most profitable short — or stock traders were betting against — with mark-to-market profits totaling $15.03 billion so far this year. And these figures don’t reflect Thursday’s decline. “In December, TSLA shorts are up $4.54 billion in month-to-date mark-to-market profits, up +33.2% on an average short interest of $13.67 billion,” S3 Partners said in its report. “Since Elon Musk’s Twitter bid on 4/14/22, TSLA shorts are up $13.74 billion in mark-to-market profits, up 77.5% on an average short internet of $17.74 billion.”
And the next most-profitable short this year isn’t even close — short-sellers have made $6.2 billion betting against Amazon in 2022, a stock that was down 49.7% so far this year through Thursday’s close. The notion that Musk’s involvement with Twitter is the predominant issue facing Tesla shares has become a widely held view in recent weeks. Consensus, even. Wall Street analysts have said Musk “needs to pull it together,” while slashing price targets and downgrading Tesla along the way. Some of Musk’s most ardent defenders have openly begun calling for him to step away from Twitter. And, to an extent, Musk himself seems to agree, hosting a poll on whether he should step down as Twitter’s chief and saying he will resign from the post once a replacement is found. This is all coming as reports indicate Tesla has brought in leaders from its team in Shanghai to help steady U.S. operations while the company is now offering $7,500 rebates to U.S. customers willing to take delivery of some models before the end of this year.