• Short sellers eye Core Lithium, which is now the most shorted ASX stock
  • Flight Centre falls to second spot as it reports a profit upgrade for FY23
  • Megaport’s short position falls to 2% much to delight of founder Bevan Slattery

How does shorting work?

Short sellers effectively borrow a stock from a broker, and go wager it (sell it) on the open market. The plan is to then buy the same stock back later after it’s made a hefty drop in price. That done, the short seller buys it back at the lower price and returns it to the lender.

The difference between the sell price and the buy price is the short seller’s profit. Investors are in effect betting they will fall.

Because shorting is restricted under Australian law (and because it’s an all or nothing bloodsport) any substantial shorting of stocks is worth knowing about, even if you only trade long.

And perhaps there’s method in the madness.

Stockhead has utilised the number of short positions as a percentage of total shares on issue. The most ASX shorted stocks  (excluding CDIs) all have 5% or more.

The most shorted stocks on ASX

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

Code Company Short positions Shares on issue % short positions
CXO CORE LITHIUM ORDINARY 209,076,781 1,858,516,794 11%
IEL IDP EDUCATION LTD ORDINARY 27,959,800 278,336,211 10%
FLT FLIGHT CENTRE TRAVEL ORDINARY 21,749,474 218,075,660 10%
SYR SYRAH RESOURCES ORDINARY 58,451,148 675,897,730 9%
JBH JB HI-FI LIMITED ORDINARY 9,018,124 109,333,981 8%
SHV SELECT HARVESTS ORDINARY 9,541,422 121,058,664 8%
BRN BRAINCHIP LTD ORDINARY 133,653,872 1,767,058,145 8%
LKE LAKE RESOURCES ORDINARY 102,778,583 1,422,444,707 7%
AMA AMA GROUP LIMITED ORDINARY 76,447,922 1,073,070,217 7%
PLS PILBARA MIN LTD ORDINARY 212,306,691 2,998,013,519 7%
BRG BREVILLE GROUP LTD ORDINARY 9,788,437 142,781,365 7%
29M 29METALSLIMITED ORDINARY 32,922,057 482,052,092 7%
NVX NOVONIX LIMITED ORDINARY 32,220,170 487,261,987 7%
IMU IMUGENE LIMITED ORDINARY 408,313,252 6,423,039,111 6%
TPW TEMPLE & WEBSTER LTD ORDINARY 7,581,343 122,949,702 6%
ELD ELDERS LIMITED ORDINARY 9,402,869 156,476,574 6%
BOQ BANK OF QUEENSLAND. ORDINARY 38,045,256 652,485,010 6%
HVN HARVEY NORMAN ORDINARY 71,595,972 1,246,006,654 6%
APX APPEN LIMITED ORDINARY 8,797,004 156,921,599 6%
ARB ARB CORPORATION. ORDINARY 4,581,774 81,971,722 6%
AWC ALUMINA LIMITED ORDINARY 159,866,720 2,901,681,417 6%
ACL AU CLINICAL LABS ORDINARY 10,892,865 201,834,015 5%
SGM SIMS LIMITED ORDINARY 10,292,701 193,176,390 5%
ZIP ZIP CO LTD.. ORDINARY 43,467,448 824,646,536 5%
DOW DOWNER EDI LIMITED ORDINARY 33,429,239 671,573,679 5%
BBN BABY BUNTING GRP LTD ORDINARY 6,715,031 134,906,489 5%
WEB WEBJET LIMITED ORDINARY 19,064,951 383,248,154 5%
BET BETMAKERS TECH GROUP ORDINARY 46,860,104 943,541,600 5%
MSB MESOBLAST LIMITED ORDINARY 38,804,639 814,204,825 5%
INA INGENIA GROUP FPO/UNITS STAPLED 18,684,568 407,583,264 5%
DYL DEEP YELLOW LIMITED ORDINARY 34,382,601 757,743,572 5%
WBT WEEBIT NANO LTD ORDINARY 8,453,661 187,318,680 5%
SYA SAYONA MINING LTD ORDINARY 460,231,471 10,219,864,245 5%
LYC LYNAS RARE EARTHS ORDINARY 41,612,553 933,815,477 4%
CCP CREDIT CORP GROUP ORDINARY 3,030,294 68,066,856 4%
EML EML PAYMENTS LTD ORDINARY 16,587,340 373,984,129 4%
LIC LIFESTYLE COMMUNIT. ORDINARY 4,617,684 104,545,131 4%
BLD BORAL LIMITED. ORDINARY 47,359,072 1,103,088,419 4%
INR IONEER LTD ORDINARY 87,920,579 2,098,818,267 4%
DHG DOMAIN HOLDINGS AUS ORDINARY 26,407,411 631,657,153 4%
JRV JERVOIS GLOBAL LTD ORDINARY 86,703,617 2,079,820,066 4%
ABB AUSSIE BROADBAND ORDINARY 9,754,916 237,682,509 4%
A2M THE A2 MILK COMPANY ORDINARY 29,572,839 721,976,214 4%
TIE TIETTO MINERALS ORDINARY 43,721,447 1,087,527,490 4%
ARU ARAFURA RARE EARTHS ORDINARY 84,398,777 2,113,065,824 4%
BOE BOSS ENERGY LTD ORDINARY 13,919,697 352,578,862 4%
MFG MAGELLAN FIN GRP LTD ORDINARY 7,038,959 181,431,899 4%
PDN PALADIN ENERGY LTD ORDINARY 114,605,235 2,981,128,947 4%
BGA BEGA CHEESE LTD ORDINARY 11,568,049 304,247,980 4%
AGY ARGOSY MINERALS LTD ORDINARY 52,170,531 1,404,407,498 4%
NAN NANOSONICS LIMITED ORDINARY 11,158,707 302,174,713 4%
NEC NINE ENTERTAINMENT ORDINARY 62,706,844 1,705,393,253 4%
MTS METCASH LIMITED ORDINARY 34,218,924 965,541,602 4%
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Core Lithium most shorted ASX stock

Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) is now the most shorted stock on the ASX. Its short position is 11% as short sellers also target other lithium stocks including Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA), Lake Resources (ASX:LKE), and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS)

CXO has plunged 34% in the past month after providing its latest quarterly activities report where the miner noted its Finniss lithium mine in the NT would significantly underperform the DFS study that underpinned its investment decision in 2021.

Early forecasts for the next two years have come in well below the 175,000tpa run rate envisaged in the original DFS. Core has set guidance of 90,000-100,000t of spod sales in FY24 at C1 costs of $1165-1250/t, with production of 80,000-90,000t anticipated.

Having experienced significant growth in 2022, lithium prices have softened in 2023.  The Lithium Carbonate EXW China (Battery) price has fallen ~48% YTD, while the Lithium Hydroxide EXW China price is down ~51% YTD.


The CXO, SYA, LKE & PLS share price today:


Flight Centre drops to equal second spot with IPD Education

After hitting turbulence with short sellers for much of 2022 and 2023 as the ASX’s most shorted stock Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) has fallen to equal number two with IDP Education (ASX:IEL)

Shares in the travel stock have been boosted since it released a full year profit upgrade in July. FLT says based on preliminary trading data, the company now expects to report underlying EBITDA between $295 million and $305 million for FY23.

The company’s shares are up 15% in the past month and 54% YTD as after the travel sector continues its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, IEL, which specialises in international student placement services and high-stakes English language testing, has seen its short position rise and is now also one of the most shorted ASX stocks.

The company also operates English language schools in Southeast Asia and organises educational events and conferences across the globe.

IEL saw a sell-off in late May after Canada’s decision to recognise additional providers for English language proficiency for its visa scheme but it has recovered and risen more than 12% in the past month.

At the time IEL responded to an ASX price query, saying the decision to open up the market wasn’t expected to have a material impact on its FY23 revenue or earnings.

The IEL share price is down ~11% YTD.


The FLT & IEL share price today:


Megaport falls sees its short position fall to 2%

Tech stock Megaport (ASX:MP1) has seen its short position drop to 2% from 8% much to the delight of  founder and chairman Bevan Slattery.

The Queensland entrepreneur took over as interim CEO in March following the resignation of Vincent English before Michael Reid took over as CEO in May, where he came from Cisco as chief revenue officer for SaaS business ThousandEyes.

In a recent LinkedIn post, Slattery said he took a screenshot in April when Megaport was the most shorted ASX stock with a short position of 10%.

“Fundamentally, Megaport was an amazing business, had outstanding growth, loyal and sticky customers, a gross margin, barier to entry and a space that continues to grow – so many attributes of a successful business,”  Slattery says in the post.

“But what it lacked was focus, fiscal discipline and leadership.”

Slattery says that’s what shareholders and investors were telling MP1 both in meetings and its short position.

“In the space of 120 days there was a $40m annual cash turnaround in the business, a reinvigorated focus on being a product/customer lead business and the team started rowing together in the same direction,” he says.

“We still have a lot to achieve and a massive opportunity ahead of us.”

He went on the say: “You can’t appreciate the penthouse if you haven’t spent time in the ****house. Well this was indeed a ****house moment.”

In its Q4 FY23 results MP1 says it achieved transformational improvements in EBITDA and net cash flow during the quarter, including a positive Net Cash result for the first time in its history.  Net Cash at June 30, 2023 was $33.3 million, up $2.3 million over the quarter.

Following continued improvement in the company’s operating and financial performance in Q4 FY23 MP1 has  upgraded its guidance for FY23 mormalised EBITDA to be in the range of $19 to $21 million.

The MP1 share price is up 68% YTD to $10.29/share but still well below its highs of more than $21 in November 2021.


The MP1 share price today:


Other stocks worth noting

Graphite producer Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) is also one of the most shorted stocks on the ASX. SYR’s shares have faced downward pressure as the company had to scale back its graphite production in response to subdued demand and declining prices.

SYR shares have fallen more than 65% YTD.

Cost of living pressures from sticky inflation and interest rate hikes has also seen several ASX consumer discretionary stocks on the short sellers list including JB HiFi (ASX:JBH), Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW), Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN), and Baby Bunting (ASX:BBN). 

FintechsZip Co (ASX:ZIP) and EML Payments (ASX:EML) are also on the watchlists of short sellers.


The SYR, JBH, TPW, HVN, BBN, ZIP, EML share price today: