‘Short selling should be illegal’ – Elon Musk praised a crackdown on shorts by the world’s biggest pension fund

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  • Elon Musk took aim at short-sellers once again in a tweet praising the world’s biggest pension fund for cracking down on shorts.
  • “Bravo, right thing to do! Short selling should be illegal,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO responded to the news that Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund will no longer allow shares to be loaned out from its $370 billion overseas equity portfolio.
  • Tesla is one of the most-shorted stocks in the US with about $9.5 billion in short interest, according to S3 Partners.
  • Musk has previously described short-sellers as “jerks who want us to die” and “value destroyers.”
  • View Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Elon Musk took aim at short-sellers once again in a tweet praising a crackdown on shorts by the world’s biggest pension fund.

“Bravo, right thing to do! Short selling should be illegal,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO responded to the news that Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund will no longer allow shares to be loaned out from its $370 billion overseas equity portfolio.

Tesla is one of the most-shorted stocks in the US with about $9.5 billion in short interest, representing around 21% of the electric-car manufacturer’s publicly traded shares, according to S3 Partners. The short-sellers include famed fund managers David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital and Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates.

Musk is a longtime critic of short-sellers, who bet that a company’s stock price will fall. They borrow then immediately sell shares, with the goal of buying them back at a lower price, returning them to their owner, and pocketing the difference.

Jerks who want us to die

“They’re jerks who want us to die,” he told Rolling Stone two years ago. “They’re constantly trying to make up false rumors and amplify any negative rumors. It’s a really big incentive to lie and attack my integrity. It’s really awful.”

Musk mockingly rebranded the Securities and Exchange Commission as the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission” in a tweet in October 2018. The agency sued him for fraud after he tweeted about potentially taking Tesla private, leading him to settle and pay a $40 million fine split between Tesla and him.

He described short-sellers as “value destroyers” and said the practice should “definitely be illegal” in a tweet in October 2018. He promised the “short burn of the century” a few months earlier.

Tesla’s stock plunged this summer as investors balked at price cuts, disappointing sales, larger-than-expected losses, and personnel changes.

However, the company has successfully ramped up production and promised strong revenue growth and positive earnings in 2020, driving its shares up more than 80% from their June low to around $335.