• Short sellers are still banking on turbulence ahead for Flight Centre, which remains the ASX’s most shorted stock
  • Several ASX lithium stocks continue to be targeted by short sellers despite uptick in commodity price
  • The platform providing back end tech to bookies Betmakers sees its short position more than halve to 5%

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
FLT FLIGHT CENTRE TRAVEL ORDINARY 22,613,543 218,075,660 10%
CXO CORE LITHIUM ORDINARY 184,266,674 1,858,516,794 10%
IEL IDP EDUCATION LTD ORDINARY 26,139,887 278,336,211 9%
JBH JB HI-FI LIMITED ORDINARY 8,933,753 109,333,981 8%
AMA AMA GROUP LIMITED ORDINARY 85,661,334 1,073,070,217 8%
SHV SELECT HARVESTS ORDINARY 9,329,710 121,058,664 8%
TPW TEMPLE & WEBSTER LTD ORDINARY 9,202,884 122,949,702 7%
BRN BRAINCHIP LTD ORDINARY 131,834,862 1,767,058,145 7%
SYR SYRAH RESOURCES ORDINARY 48,216,798 675,897,730 7%
BRG BREVILLE GROUP LTD ORDINARY 9,913,801 142,781,365 7%
LKE LAKE RESOURCES ORDINARY 89,792,720 1,422,444,707 6%
ACL AU CLINICAL LABS ORDINARY 12,646,350 201,834,015 6%
NVX NOVONIX LIMITED ORDINARY 30,153,727 486,882,930 6%
DOW DOWNER EDI LIMITED ORDINARY 41,187,928 671,573,679 6%
PLS PILBARA MIN LTD ORDINARY 183,403,630 2,998,013,519 6%
IMU IMUGENE LIMITED ORDINARY 387,973,534 6,423,039,111 6%
ARB ARB CORPORATION. ORDINARY 4,792,931 81,971,722 6%
HVN HARVEY NORMAN ORDINARY 72,758,854 1,246,006,654 6%
29M 29METALSLIMITED ORDINARY 28,103,924 482,052,092 6%
BOQ BANK OF QUEENSLAND. ORDINARY 37,080,335 652,485,010 6%
SGM SIMS LIMITED ORDINARY 10,727,419 193,176,390 6%
AWC ALUMINA LIMITED ORDINARY 160,176,782 2,901,681,417 6%
MP1 MEGAPORT LIMITED ORDINARY 8,706,875 158,678,412 5%
ELD ELDERS LIMITED ORDINARY 8,463,220 156,476,574 5%
EML EML PAYMENTS LTD ORDINARY 19,774,010 373,984,129 5%
WBT WEEBIT NANO LTD ORDINARY 9,697,063 187,318,680 5%
CCP CREDIT CORP GROUP ORDINARY 3,465,575 68,066,856 5%
APX APPEN LIMITED ORDINARY 7,959,557 156,653,558 5%
WEB WEBJET LIMITED ORDINARY 19,361,331 382,721,484 5%
JRV JERVOIS GLOBAL LTD ORDINARY 103,057,126 2,079,820,066 5%
ZIP ZIP CO LTD.. ORDINARY 40,196,583 824,646,536 5%
BBN BABY BUNTING GRP LTD ORDINARY 6,434,373 134,906,489 5%
BET BETMAKERS TECH GROUP ORDINARY 44,918,203 943,541,600 5%
DHG DOMAIN HOLDINGS AUS ORDINARY 29,952,727 631,657,153 5%
LYC LYNAS RARE EARTHS ORDINARY 44,154,777 933,815,477 5%
SYA SAYONA MINING LTD ORDINARY 427,906,918 9,098,753,133 5%
INA INGENIA GROUP FPO/UNITS STAPLED 18,961,812 407,583,264 5%
DYL DEEP YELLOW LIMITED ORDINARY 34,172,366 757,743,572 5%
MSB MESOBLAST LIMITED ORDINARY 36,600,066 814,204,825 4%
ABB AUSSIE BROADBAND ORDINARY 10,638,992 237,682,509 4%
PDN PALADIN ENERGY LTD ORDINARY 128,273,622 2,981,128,947 4%
LIC LIFESTYLE COMMUNIT. ORDINARY 4,432,930 104,545,131 4%
BLD BORAL LIMITED. ORDINARY 46,488,232 1,103,088,419 4%
NAN NANOSONICS LIMITED ORDINARY 12,484,672 302,174,713 4%
BGA BEGA CHEESE LTD ORDINARY 12,492,102 304,247,980 4%
A2M THE A2 MILK COMPANY ORDINARY 29,390,964 721,976,214 4%
INR IONEER LTD ORDINARY 83,344,057 2,098,818,267 4%
NIC NICKEL INDUSTRIES ORDINARY 116,834,490 3,024,257,273 4%
GUD G.U.D. HOLDINGS ORDINARY 5,433,914 140,894,696 4%
BOE BOSS ENERGY LTD ORDINARY 13,558,873 352,578,862 4%
SUL SUPER RET REP LTD ORDINARY 8,652,460 225,826,500 4%
NHC NEW HOPE CORPORATION ORDINARY 33,685,949 882,269,477 4%
MFG MAGELLAN FIN GRP LTD ORDINARY 6,814,260 181,431,899 4%
NEC NINE ENTERTAINMENT ORDINARY 62,516,211 1,705,393,253 4%
SGR THE STAR ENT GRP ORDINARY 59,025,069 1,618,680,877 4%
PBH POINTSBET HOLDINGS ORDINARY 11,111,921 311,609,766 4%
BGL BELLEVUE GOLD LTD ORDINARY 40,246,930 1,130,179,529 4%
MTS METCASH LIMITED ORDINARY 34,107,416 965,541,602 4%
CXL CALIX LIMITED ORDINARY 6,366,482 181,086,220 4%
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Flight Centre’s turbulent trip with short sellers

It seems Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) just can’t catch a break with short sellers, with the travel stock remaining the most shorted ASX stock.

However, FLT’s short position has dropped marginally from 11% in June to 10% in July.  The FLT share price has risen more than 40% YTD as the company said it is continuing to recover from the Covid-19 travel disruptions.

In its June Investor Strategy Session FLT said it was targeting $270-290 million underlying EBITDA for FY23 including contribution from the recent Scott Dunn acquisition, compared to an underlying $183.1 million FY22 loss.

“Demand is rebounding, trading conditions gradually starting to normalise (although airfares remain well above pre-Covid levels), no obvious signs of slowdown flowing from macro-economic changes,” FLT said in the presentation.

“Global corporate business outpacing industry recovery – delivering record TTV during FY23 despite client activity only tracking at 70-80% of pre-COVID levels.”

FLT said the leisure sector recovery gained momentum during a seasonally busier H2 FY23.

“Australian leisure TTV tracking broadly in line with pre-Covid levels in May 2023,” FLT said.


The FLT share price today:


Short-sellers cut punts against Betmakers

Betmakers Technology Group (ASX:BET) has caught a break with short-sellers and has seen its short position over the month more than halve from 13% in June as the second most shorted stock on the ASX to 5% in July.

BET operates a platform model providing the back-end technology for bookmakers, primarily in horse racing.

The BET share price has risen 18% in the past month after it provided an update on a strategic operational restructure as it works to cut costs and accelerate its path to profitability.

The company said it will cut more than 100 jobs but the reduction in costs will be primarily driven by restructuring global operations and technology.

“BetMakers is committed to providing long-term value to shareholders and this restructuring is an essential step towards achieving that goal,” CEO Jake Henson said.

“The changes made aim to provide the business with a clear path to profitability while also providing a more streamlined operating structure to maximise future growth opportunities.”

The BET Share price today:


Lithium & resource stocks still target of short-sellers

Resource stocks across sectors including lithium, battery metals, coal, nickel and REEs are in the sights of short-sellers.

Lithium stocks Core Lithium (ASX:CXO),  Lake Resources (ASX:LKE), Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) are all on the list of the most shorted ASX stocks.

There’s a lot going on in the lithium sector. Lithium prices have fallen from the heights seen in 2022 but are coming back in vogue.

However, analysts are mixed about what lithium prices will do with some forecasting EV growth will continue to drive demand for the battery metal but others like Goldman Sachs are bearish and say there could be a supply glut as early as 2024.

READ: Lithium explorers are hot again. Here’s how Canaccord Genuity sees the rest of 2023 rolling out

Also on the list of most shorted stocks is copper-focused base and precious mining company 29Metals (ASX:29M),  the world’s biggest rare earths producer outside of China Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC), coal miner New Hope Corp (ASX:NHC) and Nickel Industries (ASX:NIC).

NIC in June announced it had begun commissioning its Oracle Nickel Project power plant in the Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park in Central Sulawesi.

It’s a key step to expanding production from the 70% owned project’s four RKEF lines, which have been restricted to 80% of nameplate due to power limits on the IMIP grid. The company said it plans to steadily increase to 130% of nameplate capacity.


The CXO, LKE, PLS, SYA, 29M, LYC, NHC & NIC Share price today:


Other shorted stocks worth noting

IDP Education Limited (ASX:IEL) is also on the list of short sellers. IEL  specialises in international student placement services and high-stakes English language testing.

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

IDP hasn’t had much news out in the past month but fell 15% on May 29 on no news. When queried by the ASX, IDP said Canada’s decision to recognise additional providers for English language proficiency for its visa scheme wasn’t expected to have a material impact on its FY23 revenue or earnings.

Several consumer discretionary stocks which could take the toll of higher interest rate rises and cost of living also continue to be targeted by short-sellers including JB HiFi (ASX:JBH), Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN), Baby Bunting (ASX:BBN) and Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW).


The IEL, JBH, HVN, BBN & TPW share price today: