Michael Burry is no stranger to ominous market warnings. The expert who predicted the 2008 housing market crash is a notorious pessimist when it comes to investing. On Jan. 31, Burry made clear what he thinks investors should do, tweeting just one word: “Sell.” Burry later deactivated his Twitter account, but not before many other users screenshot and shared the now infamous tweet.
Since then, many people have commented on Burry’s warning, including Elon Musk. The Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO recently lamented the fact that he had to offload part of his TSLA stock holdings to finance the Twitter acquisition. He also laughed at Burry leaving the platform. However, that may be because the famed investor of The Big Short has a complicated history with Tesla.
Let’s take a closer look at Musk and Burry and what investors can expect from Tesla on the road ahead.
Michael Burry and TSLA Stock: A Brief History
Betting against things has shaped Burry’s career. He rose to fame after the 2015 film The Big Short, based on the book by Michael Lewis of the same name, depicted his expert bet against the U.S. housing market. Less publicized, however, is the fact that Burry also bet against Tesla in 2021. Markets Insider reports that a regulatory filing from March 2021 revealed that Burry’s firm, Scion Asset Management, “held bearish put options on over 800,000 shares” of TSLA stock. The outlet noted:
“Burry’s puts give him the right to sell those shares — worth $534 million at the end of March — at a specified “strike price” before a certain expiration date. If Tesla’s stock price falls below the strike price before the options expire, Burry can sell his shares for a profit.”
Musk has a history of not reacting well when people bet against his company. In April 2022, he refused to discuss philanthropic opportunities with Bill Gates after hearing that the billionaire held a short position against TSLA stock. With this in mind, it makes sense that he would harbor feelings of resentment toward Burry, who has openly criticized Tesla, comparing the stock to the 2008 housing bubble and warning of a looming collapse. In his typical modus operandi, Musk responded by dismissing Burry as a “broken clock.”
This time, Musk took the opportunity to mock him further when a Twitter user wrote, “michael burry deleting his account every time he shorts the local bottom will never stop being funny.” Musk responded with two crying-laughing emojis.
What This Means for Tesla
This behavior is par for the course for both Musk and Burry. The trend of Burry deactivating his Twitter after issuing extreme market takes is almost as common as Musk criticizing people who bet against Tesla. All the same, this warrants a closer look as TSLA stock adjusts to a new year and new market.
Not every expert agrees with Burry that this is a time to sell. CNBC’s Jim Cramer recently issued a contrasting statement regarding the bull market that he sees developing. Does that make TSLA stock a buy, though? Not necessarily.
The electric vehicle (EV) market seems to be rebounding, but that doesn’t mean Tesla is out of the dark yet. The company has a long way to go before reaching its 2021 highs and Musk still seems more preoccupied with Twitter than the EV maker. Until the CEO turns his primary focus back to Tesla, Burry’s bearish take holds water.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.