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Tesla is a 'dangerous stock to be short,' says Social Capital CEO Palihapitiya

  • Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya said the amount of consumer demand that Tesla has is "unimaginable."
  • Palihapitiya's comment came after short bets against Tesla grew by billions last month.

Tesla is a "dangerous stock to be short," Social Capital's founder and CEO, Chamath Palihapitiya, told CNBC on Tuesday.

Palihapitiya said the amount of consumer demand that the electric car company has is "unimaginable." In four years Tesla has captured a third of every luxury car, and in four quarters garnered 10 percent of every luxury SUV, he said.

"There's clearly a desire by consumers to have this company win," Palihapitiya said on "Squawk Box," six days after the company said it more than doubled revenue from a year earlier in its first-quarter earnings report, thanks in part to record deliveries.

At the Sohn conference on Monday, he recommended convertible bonds from the electric automaker.

Palihapitiya's comment came after short bets against Tesla grew by billions last month. Still, in early April Tesla overtook General Motors as the largest U.S. automaker by market cap.

Short interest in Tesla totaled $9.9 billion as of Tuesday, said Ihor Dusaniwsky, head of research for financial analytics firm S3 Partners, in an interview with CNBC.

Shorts have lost $3.17 billion betting against the electric car maker in 2017 so far, Dusaniwsky said.

Palihapitiya said Tesla's story could be very similar to that of Amazon, Google and Facebook.

At last year's Sohn, he pitched Amazon, and the stock is up about 40 percent in the last 12 months.

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