After another brutal year in 2021, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) short sellers kicked off 2022 deep in the red on Monday after the stock jumped 11.5% on the strength of better-than-expected fourth-quarter delivery numbers.
Spiegel’s Bearish Take: One of Tesla’s most vocal short sellers has been Stanphyl Capital Partners Managing Member & Portfolio Manager Mark Spiegel. In Stanphyl’s December letter to investors, Spiegel discussed his bearish take on Tesla and revealed just how much his Tesla short position impacted Stanphyl’s full-year returns in 2021.
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In the letter, Spiegel said he still considers Tesla grossly overvalued and is maintaining short positions in both Tesla and the ARK Innovation ETF (NYSE:ARKK) heading into 2022.
“I continue to believe we’re entering a stagflationary repeat of the 1970s, which is why we own gold and several deep-value stocks and remain short high-PE bubble-stocks such as Tesla and ARKK,” Spiegel said.
While his short position in Tesla didn’t pay off in 2021, Cathie Wood’s ARKK ETF finished the year down 24%.
Overall 2021 Performance: Stanphyl also benefited from profitable long positions in auto stocks Volkswagen A G Unsponsored ADR (OTC:VWAPY) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM).
“GM is doing all the right things in electric cars, autonomous driving (via its Cruise ownership) and software, yet it’s extremely cheap because, as with other established automakers, investors have (for now) forsaken it in favor of ‘electric car pure-plays,’ a sector which has thus become the largest valuation bubble in history,” Spiegel said.
Despite the losing Tesla short position, Spiegel thanked Wood in the letter for a “halfway-decent year” overall for Stanphyl. Spiegel said Stanphy Capital’s fund finished 2021 up 25.9% for the year, just shy of the 28.7% gain of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY).
Benzinga’s Take: Spiegel takes a lot of criticism for his bearish take on Tesla, which has certainly been costly up to this point. However, Stanphyl’s full-year returns in 2021 suggests he seemingly managed the fund well enough overall to nearly completely offset his misfire on Tesla.
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