Greenlight Capital Re’s David Einhorn is coming off of his best quarter as a hedge fund manager at the New York-based firm. With substantial growth to report in Q4 2020, Einhorn was a big winner in a year filled with losers. But even if Einhorn saw spectacular gains in his portfolio, it isn’t all bright because Tesla still gave him a substantial loss due to its surge on Wall Street in 2020.
Einhorn’s fund backed off of their short position slightly following news of Tesla’s inclusion in the S&P 500 on December 21st. Upon the announcement in November, it was obvious that the stock would surge in value, so Einhorn made the right play to lower his short position. Still, he maintains that Tesla stock is a “fad,” even though he admits that owning its products is not.
“Tesla cars are not a fad; if they were, Tesla would sell many more than it does,” the Greenlight Capital Q4 2020 Earnings Letter said. “The fad is in owning TSLA stock. We have equipped before that twice a silly stock price is not twice as silly; it’s still just silly. But what about 20 times a silly price? In the 2000 internet bubble, Cisco Systems peaked out at 29x revenue, which would be a discount to where TSLA now trades.”
Tesla stock bounced up over 700% in 2020 due to battery tech developments, profitability, scalability, and growth in the EV sector, something other automakers couldn’t do in the pandemic year. Tesla managed to continue its growth with several record quarters, all making a substantial hit on short-sellers portfolios. It was one of the toughest years in history for short-sellers, and TSLAQ was the victim. $38 billion in losses were applied to those who try and make money off of Tesla’s downfall, an event that just didn’t happen, unfortunately for them.
However, TSLA’s long-term investors pushed hard and continued to buy the stock on every opportunity. Any slight dip in price was a chance to gain more holdings. It was an occasion that was oftentimes celebrated in a very public fashion by the automaker’s biggest supporters. Now, they’re tasting the fruits of their patience as TSLA continues to grow in value.
Greenlight ended up finishing with a 25% gain in Q4 and a 5.2% gain in valuation for the full-year. Tesla’s growth in the second half of 2020 was “sidestepped” by Einhorn and Greenlight after the S&P inclusion news, so, likely, the only reason the firm ended up profitable for 2020 as a whole is because of the strategy to back off of shorting the stock.
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