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Tesla And 9 Other Stocks That Burned Short Sellers The Most In 2020

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Wayne Duggan
·2 min read
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The coronavirus outbreak severely disrupted the stock market and the economy in 2020. While most stocks took a pounding during the COVID-19 sell-off early in the year, many soared to new all-time highs during the market recovery later in 2020. 

In 2020, U.S. short sellers logged $345 billion in net in mark-to-market losses, according to S3 Partners analyst Ihor Dusaniwsky. A large portion of those losses came from a handful of heavily shorted stocks that crushed short sellers last year.

“The largest losses were in the Consumer Discretionary and Information Technology Sectors while there were minimal profits in the Energy, Real Estate, Financial and Utilities Sectors,” Dusaniwsky said Thursday.

Related Link: 10 Stocks That Earned Short Sellers The Most Profits In 2020

Tesla The Biggest Short Killer: Dusaniwsky said electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) was by far the worst short in the market in 2020.

Tesla short sellers lost more than $40.1 billion 2020, nearly six times the losses they endured betting against any other stock in the market.

Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) was a distant second, with short sellers taking just a $6.7-billion mark-to-market loss on the year.

Dusaniwsky said Tesla averaged about $17.8 billion in total short interest in 2020. Not only was Tesla a bad stock to bet against in 2020, it was the single best-performing S&P 500 stock of the year, gaining roughly 700%.

Worst Shorts Of 2020

Here’s a look at the 10 worst stocks to short in the market in 2020, sorted by net mark-to-market losses:

  • Tesla, -$40.1 billion.

  • Apple, -$6.7 billion.

  • Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), -$5.7 billion.

  • Pinduoduo Inc - ADR (NASDAQ: PDD), -$4.8 billion.

  • Square Inc (NYSE: SQ), -$4.7 billion.

  • Sea Ltd (NYSE: SE), -$4.2 billion.

  • Nio Inc - ADR (NYSE: NIO), -$3.6 billion.

  • Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), -$3.2 billion.

  • Carvana Co (NYSE: CVNA), -$3.1 billion.

  • Twilio Inc (NYSE: TWLO), -$2.9 billion.

Benzinga’s Take: The least profitable shorts are not necessarily the stocks that gained the most in 2020, but rather stocks that have big gains and also the largest amounts of short interest.

These 10 stocks highlight the extreme risk involved in short selling, which has theoretical gains capped at 100% while theoretical losses are unlimited.

Photo courtesy of Square. 

Latest Ratings for TSLA

Jan 2021

Baird

Maintains

Outperform

Jan 2021

JP Morgan

Maintains

Underweight

Jan 2021

Oppenheimer

Maintains

Outperform

View More Analyst Ratings for TSLA
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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