Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Uber's underwriters, led by Morgan Stanley, were so worried about the company's IPO that they deployed "a nuclear option" ahead of the deal last week to provide extra support for the stock — a so-called naked short, as CNBC's Leslie Picker reported Tuesday.

The catch: Now, actual short sellers are coming in at significant levels and could push the stock even further below its $45 IPO price.

What it means: Every IPO includes an excess amount of shares that allow underwriters to sell 115% of the available offering and then buy the additional 15% back, Picker explains. That extra 15% can support the stock's price if it falters.

  • But in Uber's case, they opened a naked short, allowing underwriters to sell more than the "greenshoe" portion and then buy the shares back, providing "even more firepower."

The bottom line: That plan came up short as Uber's stock fell 18% in its first days as a public company before recovering Tuesday with a 7.7% gain.

What to watch: Actual short bets against Uber now total $768 million, with short sellers holding 11.5% of available shares, according to data from Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3 Partners.

  • "We expect Uber short interest to increase over the next several days as short sellers continue to be active," Dusaniwsky said in a statement.

Go deeper: Uber's massive IPO sinks investors

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Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 12,607,510 — Total deaths: 562,338 — Total recoveries — 6,948,863Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 3,228,884 — Total deaths: 134,600 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.