• Flight Centre continues to be the most shorted stock on the ASX at the start of FY23
  • Growth and rate sensitive stocks including healthcare and fintech on short sellers’ lists
  • Resources, e-commerce and consumer discretionary stocks also targeted

In Short & Caught, Stockhead recaps the ASX stocks that are the most shorted and have had the greatest increase in short interest right now.

How does shorting work?

Shorting works by selling stocks you do not actually own in the hope of buying them back at a lower price. Investors are in effect betting they will fall.

Because shorting is restricted under Australian law, any substantial shorting of stocks is worth knowing about, even if you only trade long.

Stockhead has utilised the number of short positions as a percentage of total shares on issue. The most shorted ASX stocks all have 5.5 per cent or more.

Here are the top most shorted ASX stocks

Code Company Short positions Shares on issue % short positions
FLT FLIGHT CENTRE TRAVEL ORDINARY 32,181,776 199,788,196 16.11%
NAN NANOSONICS LIMITED ORDINARY 37,263,599 301,835,129 12.35%
BET BETMAKERS TECH GROUP ORDINARY 106,858,562 904,456,199 11.81%
SQ2 BLOCK CDI 1:1 NYSE 4,279,052 41,317,880 10.36%
PNV POLYNOVO LIMITED ORDINARY 58,311,563 661,688,044 8.81%
EML EML PAYMENTS LTD ORDINARY 32,379,803 373,461,323 8.67%
KGN KOGAN.COM LTD ORDINARY 9,088,479 106,927,603 8.50%
RRL REGIS RESOURCES ORDINARY 63,494,155 754,839,713 8.41%
LKE LAKE RESOURCES ORDINARY 114,287,776 1,389,709,906 8.22%
WEB WEBJET LIMITED ORDINARY 30,623,071 380,509,819 8.05%
MSB MESOBLAST LIMITED ORDINARY 50,565,153 650,454,551 7.77%
CXO CORE LITHIUM ORDINARY 132,496,319 1,732,611,716 7.65%
ZIP ZIP CO LTD.. ORDINARY 50,514,661 687,936,061 7.34%
ING INGHAMS GROUP ORDINARY 26,629,303 371,679,601 7.16%
OBL OMNI BRIDGEWAY LTD ORD US PROHIBITED 19,186,450 268,639,670 7.14%
PDN PALADIN ENERGY LTD ORDINARY 207,660,470 2,977,779,002 6.97%
CCX CITY CHIC COLLECTIVE ORDINARY 15,726,796 231,920,086 6.78%
IEL IDP EDUCATION LTD ORDINARY 18,740,296 278,336,211 6.73%
CUV CLINUVEL PHARMACEUT. ORDINARY 3,268,326 49,410,338 6.61%
AMA AMA GROUP LIMITED ORDINARY 65,166,044 1,022,435,377 6.37%
BGL BELLEVUE GOLD LTD ORDINARY 65,490,421 1,031,431,826 6.35%
NEA NEARMAP LTD ORDINARY 31,078,684 499,070,294 6.23%
PBH POINTSBET HOLDINGS ORDINARY 18,821,248 303,618,212 6.20%
VUL VULCAN ENERGY ORDINARY 8,770,600 143,094,049 6.13%
ADH ADAIRS LIMITED ORDINARY 10,432,858 171,316,433 6.09%
SBM ST BARBARA LIMITED ORDINARY 49,092,695 815,734,768 6.02%
TPW TEMPLE & WEBSTER LTD ORDINARY 7,251,267 120,514,583 6.02%
NHC NEW HOPE CORPORATION ORDINARY 49,879,670 832,357,082 5.99%
MP1 MEGAPORT LIMITED ORDINARY 9,379,044 157,949,016 5.94%
APX APPEN LIMITED ORDINARY 7,252,505 123,446,356 5.88%
IMU IMUGENE LIMITED ORDINARY 333,583,845 5,865,699,945 5.69%
PNI PINNACLE INVESTMENT ORDINARY 11,194,847 199,560,297 5.61%
BOQ BANK OF QUEENSLAND. ORDINARY 35,215,276 647,357,479 5.44%
MFG MAGELLAN FIN GRP LTD ORDINARY 9,914,113 185,158,872 5.35%
FFX FIREFINCH LTD ORDINARY 62,619,084 1,181,243,221 5.30%
PME PRO MEDICUS LIMITED ORDINARY 5,431,221 104,320,631 5.21%
SYR SYRAH RESOURCES ORDINARY 34,599,263 669,442,809 5.17%
ANN ANSELL LIMITED ORDINARY 6,504,880 127,441,469 5.10%
DEG DE GREY MINING ORDINARY 71,017,278 1,408,843,525 5.04%
JBH JB HI-FI LIMITED ORDINARY 5,485,715 109,333,981 5.02%

Flight Centre’s turbulent ride with short sellers

It’s a new fiscal year but not much is changing for Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) which continues to hit turbulence with short sellers, remaining the most shorted stock on the ASX and has been in this column for most of FY22.

The company has more than 16% or ~32 million of its outstanding ~199.8 million shares on issue held short. It’s been a turbulent ride for FLT throughout FY22, along with the wider travel industry, which is still in recovery mode from global Covid-19 lockdowns.

Investors in FLT had a rollercoaster ride throughout FY22 with its share price at $17.36 on June 30, far from its peak of $24.43 on October 5, 2021. Prior gains have helped FLT retain an ~11% increase during FY22.

 

Travel booking platform Webjet (ASX:WEB),  also has a short position of 10%, with the company’s share price feeling the pain of June sell-offs, falling more than 10% in the past month to $5.51.

Short sellers target growth and rate sensitive stocks

June was a particularly tough month on the ASX, which had been unsteady on its feet throughout 2022 and really took a tumble, officially entering correction territory, defined as a fall of 10% or more from its last peak, which was 7632.80 in August 2021.

Tax-loss selling combined with jittery investors concerned about rising inflation, rate hike pressures, supply shortages and the ongoing war in Ukraine saw heavy sell-offs throughout the month.

As a result it seems growth and rate-sensitive stocks continue to be targeted by short sellers including fintech, payments and sports betting companies. BetMakers Technology Group (ASX:BET) is the second most shorted stock on the ASX. BetMakers operates a platform model providing the back-end technology for bookmakers primarily in horse racing.

The company has more than 13% of its stock or ~121 million of its outstanding ~903 million shares shorted.  BetMakers’ share price has fallen more than 50% in the past year to 41 cents.

 

Online betting company Pointsbet (ASX:PBH)  has also been targeted by short sellers with a short position of just over 8%.

Other fintech and payments companies sensitive to rate hikes and targeted by short sellers include Appen (ASX:APX), EML Payments (ASX:EML), Block (ASX:SQ2),  ZipCo (ASX:ZIP), and Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR).

ASX Health stocks remains on short sellers’ lists

While they have seen a bit of a July rally ASX growth health stocks continue to feel heat from short sellers not feeling confident about their prospects in a higher interest rate environment.

Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) was the third most shorted stock while Polynovo (ASX:PNV), Clinuvel (ASX:CUV),Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) and Ansell (ASX:ANN) have all made the short seller list for July.

Other stocks which have been targeted by short sellers include ecommerce and consumer discretionary stocks including  Kogan (ASX:KGN),  RedBubble (ASX:RBL), Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW), City Chic Collective (ASX:CCX) and Adairs (ASX:ADH).

Energy and resources stocks are also on the list of short sellers including renewable focused Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL), lithium developer Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN), gold miner Regis Resources (ASX:RRL), nickel, copper, cobalt and gold explorer and developer Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) and coal miner New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC).