Short & Caught: Flight Centre is STILL the ASX’s most shorted stock
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In Short & Caught, Stockhead recaps the ASX stocks that are the most shorted and have had the greatest increase in short interest right now.
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.
Short positions in Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) has once again seen FLT win gold as the ASX most shorted stock. Flight Centre’s short position remains at 17.9%. There’s no question the Covid-19 pandemic hit Flight Centre and the travel sector hard but it has been recovering as Australia’s borders reopen. Shares in the company are up ~6% in the past month to ~20.64, but short sellers don’t seem as optimistic.
Travel booking platform Webjet (ASX:WEB) has also been targeted by short sellers. Webjet has a short position of 9.36%, despite a more optimistic outlook on travel and the company’s share price jumping 5.47% in the past month to ~$5.60.
Short sellers continue to tip losses for the sports betting sector. Betmakers (ASX:BET) was the second most shorted stock with a short position of 13.62%.
Betmakers operates a platform model providing the back-end technology for bookmakers primarily in horse racing. Its share price has fallen ~15% in the past month and ~67% in the past year to ~48 cents.
Pointsbet (ASX:PBH) recently reported solid Q3 FY22 results, including turnover up 54% to a quarterly record of ~$1.4 billion, and net win (total amount wagered take away the total amount paid to players for winning wagers) up 18% on prior corresponding period (pcp) at $76.9 million.
But the good results haven’t been enough to persuade short sellers with a short position of 7.73%. The company’s stock has fallen ~80% in the past year to ~2.66.
Despite the S&P/ASX 200 healthcare index being slightly up for the past month at ~0.76%, short sellers still don’t seem confident of its prospects in a volatile market digesting high inflation and rising interest rates.
Nanosonics (ASX:NAN), which has developed and commercialised the trophon EPR device, an automated disinfectant technology for ultrasound probes, has seen 12.48% of its stock shorted. The company’s shares have been sold off this year due to a major change in its US sales model. Share in Nanosonics have tumbled ~11% in the past month to ~$3.44.
Wound care company Polynovo (ASX:PNV) has a short position of ~10%, despite the company recently reporting a record (unaudited) Q3 FY22 with revenue of $12.26m, up 59.3% on pcp. Shares in Polynovo continue to feel the brunt of a selloff in high growth stocks to value stocks down ~11% in the past month to ~93 cents.
Cellular medicines company Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) is also in the eyes of short sellers with a short position of 8.07%. Mesoblast has ongoing clinical research activities in the country to commercialise a drug that treats GVHD (graft versus host disease), which is a severe inflammation in the bloodstream caused by complications of bone marrow transplants.
The company’s share price has fallen ~12% in the past month to ~$1.01.
A darling of the Covid-19 pandemic, protective personal equipment (PPE) specialist Ansell (ASX:ANN), has also got a short position of 5.21%. The company’s share price is up ~3.17% in the past month to $26.34.
Payments company EML Payments (ASX:EML) has a short interest of ~9.5%. The company recently downgraded its revenue and profit guidance in its Q3 FY22 report on the back of rising costs and less new projects. Its share price has fallen 47.64% in the past month to ~$1.44.
BNPL player Zip Co (ASX:ZIP) has a short interest of 8.24%. Zip has fallen out of favour with investors of late with its share price down ~28% in the past month to ~$1.
Fintech Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR) has a short interest of 6.86%. The Tyro share price has fallen ~31% in the past month to $1.04.
Block Inc (ASX:SQ2) has a short interest of 6.75%. Block disappointed the market with its quarterly earnings last night, as it reported a 22% decline on its revenue to $US3.96 billion for the March quarter.