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It's hard to ignore Tesla Motors Inc's (NASDAQ:TSLA) 2013 run up the charts, considering the stock has soared roughly 384% year-to-date to trade at $163.76. (In fact, since our June Weekly Contrarian coverage of the equity, it has climbed an additional 65.4%.) However, a recent CNBC article points out that sentiment on the Street is mixed toward the electric vehicle maker, as one analyst opines that TSLA shares have run up too far, too fast.
Stephen Weiss of Short Hills Capital pointed out, "This is complete bubbly territory in terms of their valuation. … So, if this should break, there's no getting out. You're going to take a massive haircut." Still, he admits that the security's trajectory could rely on what CEO Elon Musk does from here on out. "The only thing that matters here is that Elon Musk is smart enough, and I believe he is, to continue to guide the Street at a level at which he can exceed it with results," Weiss continued. "That'll drive the stock. But if he should miss, that'll come down quite a bit."
Conversely, Mike Murphy of Rosecliff Capital waxed overwhelmingly optimistic on TSLA. "It's unbelievable what Elon Musk is doing with this company," he said. "It's unbelievable the numbers that the company is putting up there. And if you look at this now, valuation is out the window." He also noted that since the company has the sales to back it up, it "looks like the run continues for Tesla."
In addition to the stock's aforementioned gains, TSLA has also outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by north of 76 percentage points over the most recent 60-day time frame. Nevertheless, there is plenty of skepticism lingering in the options pits. In fact, TSLA's 50-day International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio of 0.90 ranks higher than 93% of similar readings taken during the last 52 weeks, signaling traders have been buying to open puts relative to calls at a near-annual-high clip.
In a similar vein, Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) for TSLA sits at 1.89, with puts nearly doubling calls among options expiring in the next three months. This ratio is just 1 percentage point away from a 12-month acme, indicating short-term traders have rarely been more put-heavy toward the stock during the past year. This heavy accumulation of open interest -- particularly within the front-month series of puts -- could end up translating into options-related support in the near term.
Elsewhere, short interest ramped up by 9.6% over the past two reporting periods, and now accounts for a hefty 26% of the equity's available float. With upwards of 20 million shares currently sold short, there's more than enough sideline cash to fuel a short-covering rally, which could send Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) even higher.