Tesla Stock In Focus Again After General Counsel Exit

There's also buzz about the company potentially offering Model 3 leasing options

Patrick Martin
Feb 20, 2019 at 9:17 AM
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The shares of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) are down 1.8% in electronic trading, after the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reported that the company was replacing its general counsel, Dane Butswinkas, after just two months on the job, effective immediately. Elsewhere, Electrek is calling attention to an email sent to employees that announced Tesla was planning on announcing leasing options for its Model 3 within the next two weeks. 

After a mid-January bear gap, Tesla stock has consolidated below the $320 level, an area that roughly coincides with its 100-day moving average. Year-to-date, the shares have shed 8.2%, but remain far off their 12-month low of $244.59 from April. 

Shorts are probably cheering the stock's struggles. Although short interest fell by 5.7% in the most recent reporting period, the 24.78 million shares sold short still represents 19.3% of TSLA's total available float, and 2.5 times the average daily trading volume. 

Meanwhile, near-term options traders are very put-heavy on Tesla. This is according to its Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 2.55, a reading that ranks in the 100th annual percentile, revealing speculators targeting options expiring within three months are unusually tilted toward puts. 

Now may be a prime time for those looking to trade the security's short-term trajectory to do so with options. TSLA's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 44% ranks in the 18th annual percentile, meaning short-term options are relatively cheap at the moment, from a volatility perspective. This comes after a relatively quiet stretch from the stock, judging by its 30-day historical volatility of 30.2%, ranking in the bottom percentile of its annual range.

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