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“Bravo, right thing to do! Short selling should be illegal,” Musk tweeted early Tuesday in response to a Financial Times story about Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, the largest in the world, announcing it will no longer allow stock lending from its $390 billion foreign equities portfolio for short selling.
Short sellers rely on borrowing shares to make bets their stock price will fall. They have long targeted Tesla shares and currently have a $9.508 billion bet against the electric-car maker, according to data from the financial analytics firm S3 Partners. The 28.39 million shares shorted amount to 21.22 percent of total shares outstanding, S3 said.
Those betting against Tesla’s stock have endured $633 million in mark-to-market losses this year, and have long been a target of Musk’s.
Last month, the Tesla CEO took a swipe at the hedge fund manager David Einhorn, who suffered significant losses in the third quarter as his bet against the electric-car maker went sour.
Einhorn accused Musk of knowingly orchestrating a “significant fraud” for his $2.6 billion acquisition of an insolvent SolarCity, which was founded by the Tesla CEO. Musk fired back, saying Einhorn was trying to “save face” for his fund’s poor performance.
But that was far from the first time Musk has taken aim at short-sellers.
In June 2018, Musk tweeted that short-sellers had “about three weeks before their short position explodes.”
The month prior, Musk warned the “short burn of the century” was coming soon while giving a nod to his Flamethrowing business.
And in November 2017, Musk told Rolling Stone short sellers were “jerks who want us to die" and that “they’re constantly trying to make up false rumors and amplify any negative rumors.”
Tesla shares are up less than 1 percent this year.