In Short & CaughtStockhead recaps the ASX stocks that are the most shorted 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.

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The three most shorted ASX stocks are travel agency Webjet (ASX:WEB), online retailer Kogan (ASX:KGN) and gold producer Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG).

These were also the most shorted stocks last month and remain the only three with a shorting volume above 10 per cent of the shares on issue.

However each have seen a substantial increase in their shares shorted. Kogan has risen by 34 per cent, Webjet by 25 per cent and Resolute by over 10 per cent.

There are a handful of other companies that have seen an increase in their volume of shares shorted.

One is defence-tech play Electro Optic Systems (ASX:EOS) which despite the increased interest in defence tech amidst COVID-19, is now running at less than half of its market capitalisation in January 2020.

While the company’s revenue has improved it made an underlying loss of $14.2 million and operating loss of $29.9 million in the 2020 calendar year.

Another two are tech stocks Bravura Solutions (ASX:BVS) and EML Payments (ASX:EML).

The latter saw a big sell-off last month with Ireland’s Central Bank raising concerns in relation to the Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) risk and control frameworks and governance of its Irish payments subsidiary.

Rounding out the list is the ASX’s largest funeral provider InvoCare (ASX:IVC). This company has seen a downturn in recent months.

COVID-19 social distancing measures not only kept deaths from COVID low in Australia compared to other countries but also deaths from the flu, hitting the company’s bottom line.