Apple has unseated Tesla as the most-shorted U.S. stock, after 864 days

  • Apple has ousted Tesla as the most-shorted US stock in dollar terms.

  • Elon Musk's automaker held the title for 864 days, or more than two years.

  • Short interest in Apple stock is $18.4 billion, compared to $17.4 billion in Tesla stock.

Investors are betting more money against Apple than Tesla for the first time since April 2020, S3 Partners revealed in a report titled "Apple is the New #1 Short" on Wednesday.

Short interest in Apple has surged to $18.4 billion, exceeding Tesla's short interest of $17.4 billion, the financial-analytics firm said. The iPhone maker is now the most heavily shorted US company by dollar amount, after Elon Musk's electric-vehicle company held that title for 864 days, it added.

Around 113 million Apple shares were sold short as of Wednesday, representing 0.7% of the iPhone maker's publicly available shares. Meanwhile, there were 57 million Tesla shares sold short, making up about 2.2% of the automaker's float.

Short interest in Tesla has been volatile since 2020, climbing as high as $51 billion and dropping as low as $6.5 billion, S3 said. Meanwhile, Apple's short interest has ranged between $8 billion and $20 billion over the same period.

Short interest shows how many dollars are being wagered against a stock, and often indicates traders' conviction that its price will fall. However, it can also reflect portfolio hedging, or wider short selling in the market.

Apple short sellers are effectively betting against Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate owns a $140 billion or 5.6% stake in the technology titan.

However, they may be aligned with Michael Burry, who held bearish put options on Apple stock in the first quarter of this year. The investor of "The Big Short" fame exited that trade, and sold virtually all of his stocks, in the second quarter.

Tesla remains a popular target for short sellers, as its stock has soared 10-fold since the start of 2020. The company's market capitalization stands at $948 billion — an astounding 18 times its revenues and nearly 170 times its net income last year.

Both Apple and Tesla shares have slumped in value this year, along with the wider stock market. Apple's stock price has dropped 15%, while Tesla stock is down 24%. The short interest in both stocks suggests that some traders see further declines ahead.

Read more: Wall Street is warning that stock valuations are too high after August's 8.3% inflation reading — meaning the market faces more pain ahead

Read the original article on Business Insider