Hedge funds recently made a strong entry into Tesla. It's not just individuals who are getting in.

Renaissance Technologies, Aristides Capital and Adage Capital Partners were among the big U.S. hedge funds that added stakes or took new positions in Tesla Inc. last quarter, before a blistering rally in October that lifted the company's market value above $1 trillion and a subsequent drop this month.

Renaissance added just over 610,000 shares in the company, nearly quadrupling its stake, while Adage added a new position of 42,800 shares and Aristides added a new position of 8,500 shares, according to SEC data. In total, 211 hedge funds and asset management firms added new positions in Tesla last quarter, while 116 firms closed positions in the company, according to data tracking firm WhaleWisdom.

Tesla shares jumped 43.5% in October, boosted in part by the announcement of an order from car rental company Hertz. Some of those gains were pared in November, and the company's value fell below $1 billion on Monday as investors reacted to CEO Elon Musk's recent stock sales totaling $6.9 billion. Each fund's disclosures came in quarter-end SEC filings released Monday and do not specify whether the firms have held those positions. Tesla shares closed Monday afternoon at $1,013.39, up nearly 31% from their Sept. 30 level of $775.

The stock has fallen 18.5% from its Nov. 4 all-time high of $1,243.49 shortly before Musk announced he was selling 10% of his stake in the company after floating the idea in a Twitter poll. Institutional interest in Tesla has likely helped lift the company's valuation, which remains high in the face of increasing competition from startup automakers such as Rivian Automotive Inc and a growing focus on electric vehicles by established companies such as General Motors Co, said Seth Goldstein, an analyst at Morningstar.
Tesla trades at 130.7 times forward earnings.

Even with the recent stock selloff, "we still think the market is assuming Tesla becomes a top-five automaker globally in annual vehicles sold and succeeds in launching its high-margin autonomous driving software subscription service," he said.


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