Short and Caught: The ASX stocks investors are shorting right now
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Short & Caught is Stockhead’s fortnightly recap of which ASX small cap stocks are heavily shorted. Stocks that are shorted have investors betting that they fall.
Shorting works by selling stocks you do not actually own in the hope of buying them back at a lower price.
Because shorting is restricted under Australian law, any substantial shorting of stocks is worth knowing about even if you own these stocks and only trade long.
Stockhead’s two preferred metrics are raw short interest as well as percentage changes in them within the last month.
Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) and Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) are the two most shorted small caps on the ASX. The gap between the two is narrowing as the short interest against Galaxy reduces.
Galaxy has been one of the stocks worst hit by low lithium prices. But last week’s news from Lake Resources’ (ASX:LKE) that its disruptive lithium brine processing tech works really well showed there are signs of life in this sector.
Proceeding behind them was oil explorer FAR (ASX:FAR). Its project is in Senegal and last week it was granted development approval. However, first oil is not expected until early 2023.
Two other stocks made a sharp rise up the list of most shorted stocks. First is uranium miner Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN), which like its peers has suffered from low uranium prices for years.
Second is Kentucky focused coal miner Paringa Resources (ASX:PNL), which now has $6m in short interest against it.
Following Paringa as the ASX small cap with the biggest monthly percentage increase in short interest is Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG). The company is Australia’s largest fast food franchise owner of franchises including Donut King, Gloria Jeans and Crust.
It had a horror 2019, falling over 70 per cent and having to recapitalise the company and raise nearly $200m.
Other stocks experiencing troubled times of late that have begun to attract shorter attention include Guyana-focused gold explorer Troy Resources (ASX:TRY) and online market place Redbubble (ASX:RBL).
One stock that has been targeted despite having a great 2019 overall is Orthocell (ASX:OCC). Last year its nerve regeneration technology was shown to work and shares went ballistic. Nevertheless, it has fallen from its all time high and had to raise capital last year.