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July 18, 2020, 8:29 a.m. EDT

Longtime Elon Musk critic has a strong message for investors looking to bet against Tesla

‘I’m not short the stock, thank God’

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By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch

MarketWatch photo illustration/iStockphoto, Everett Collection

‘It’s one thing to bet on Elon Musk, but it’s another thing to bet against him. The guy specializes in pulling rabbits out of the hat.’

That’s Carson Block, the short-seller behind Muddy Waters Capital, talking with Bloomberg’s Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal in a podcast this week about the iffy prospects of taking a short position on Tesla /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA -2.48%  in the face of the stock’s torrid rally.

“I’m not short the stock, thank God,” he said. “We used to joke that Tesla, when it files for bankruptcy, will probably have a $30 billion market cap. Short it at your own risk. I wouldn’t do that.”

Yes, that’s a good thing, considering how Tesla has performed lately.

But that hasn’t stop other investors from piling on with their short bets, with the value of those wagers surging to $20 billion at last check, according to data from Bloomberg News.

Block, who called Musk a “fundamentally dishonest person... who’s done some incredible things,” has dabbled in Tesla before, having bought the company’s convertible bonds and then used the coupon payments to fund long-dated put options on the stock. He’s completely out now though.

Here’s a snippet from the recent interview:

Click here for the full, hour-long interview .

Tesla shares were dragged down with the rest of the market Thursday, as the Dow /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.17%  , S&P /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.06%  and Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -0.87% were all stuck in the red.

US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 1,452.71
-36.87 -2.48%
Volume: 8.90M
Aug. 7, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
$270.73 billion
Rev. per Employee
US : Dow Jones Global
+46.50 +0.17%
Volume: 324.93M
Aug. 7, 2020 5:10p
+2.12 +0.06%
Volume: 2.28B
Aug. 7, 2020 5:10p
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
-97.09 -0.87%
Volume: 3.85M
Aug. 7, 2020 5:16p

Shawn Langlois is an editor and writer for MarketWatch in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @slangwise.

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