• Flight Centre tops the list as most shorted stock
  • Short sellers bet against Betmakers
  • Nanosonics also targeted as one year share price tumbles

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 20 most shorted ASX stocks

Code Company Short positions Shares on issue % short positions
FLT FLIGHT CENTRE TRAVEL ORDINARY 35,443,612 199,345,399 17.8%
BET BETMAKERS TECH GROUP ORDINARY 115,005,318 904,129,858 12.7%
NAN NANOSONICS LIMITED ORDINARY 35,915,590 302,319,781 11.9%
WEB WEBJET LIMITED ORDINARY 39,481,038 380,356,821 10.4%
MSB MESOBLAST LIMITED ORDINARY 59,874,011 650,804,467 9.2%
KGN KOGAN.COM LTD ORDINARY 9,744,423 107,199,373 9.1%
RBL REDBUBBLE LIMITED ORDINARY 25,040,762 276,083,374 9.1%
PNV POLYNOVO LIMITED ORDINARY 58,612,359 662,286,542 8.9%
APX APPEN LIMITED ORDINARY 10,469,569 123,607,662 8.5%
Z1P ZIP CO LTD. ORDINARY 56,385,014 666,489,527 8.5%
EML EML PAYMENTS LTD ORDINARY 31,560,324 373,937,488 8.4%
OBL OMNI BRIDGEWAY LTD ORD US PROHIBITED 22,039,923 269,436,711 8.2%
TYR TYRO PAYMENTS ORDINARY 40,132,116 516,500,849 7.8%
AMA AMA GROUP LIMITED ORDINARY 73,511,409 1,011,161,059 7.3%
PDN PALADIN ENERGY LTD ORDINARY 191,775,749 2,685,934,860 7.1%
TPW TEMPLE & WEBSTER LTD ORDINARY 8,602,410 120,481,933 7.1%
PBH POINTSBET HOLDINGS ORDINARY 18,200,498 264,927,191 6.9%
EOS ELECTRO OPTIC SYS. ORDINARY 9,691,892 151,199,563 6.4%
RRL REGIS RESOURCES ORDINARY 47,208,996 756,554,423 6.2%
ING INGHAMS GROUP ORDINARY 22,894,655 370,463,673 6.2%
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Flight Centre back to ground

Travel agent Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) – which was hit hard from the Covid-19 pandemic but has been recovering in the past months as Australia’s borders started to re-open both domestically and internationally – is the most shorted stock at the moment.

There’s been a 17.8% increase in short interest in Flight Centre,  despite its share price increasing ~5.95% in the past six months to be trading at $19.04.

The company this week announced it was increasing its stake in Dubai-based travel tech business TP Connect (TPC) from 22.5% to 70%.


Playing the short odds

Sport betting stock Betmakers (ASX:BET) was the next most shorted stock with a 12.7% short increase.

There’s been media speculation former bookmaker turned gambling industry investor Tom Waterhouse has lent stock that could be being used to short BetMakers, which operates a platform model providing the back-end technology for bookmakers (primarily in horse racing).

According to the reports, Waterhouse has become a major shareholder in BetMakers in the past year, receiving performance rights that have vested into share options that he has then converted to equity as a result of a commercial deal.

The Betmakers share price has tumbled 37% to 65 cents in the past year. It recently reported a 473% increase in revenue on the previous corresponding period of $43.5 million for H1 FY22.


More bad news for Nanosonics

Investors in Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) may be troubled to hear the company also made it onto the short list with a ~12% increase in shorts. Nanosonics shares have fallen a massive ~39% in the past year to $3.96.

The company has developed and commercialised the trophon EPR device, an automated disinfection technology, which claims to be the first major innovation in disinfection for ultrasound probes in more than 20 years.

The company recently revealed big changes to its North American sales model with GE Healthcare and also reported a half-year profit slump.


Other stocks targeted

Discretionary stocks which have been hit hard of late are also back on the short list including  Kogan.com (ASX:KGN), Redbubble (ASX:RBL) and Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW).

Mining companies and energy stocks still have short positions outstanding despite the run-up in commodity prices, including Paladin Energy (ASX:PDN) and Regis Resources (ASX:RRL). 

The bears are also out for fintech payment companies including EML Payments (ASX:EML), Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) and Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR).