Short & 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.
Shorting is not a quick buying and selling activity, traders wait months to close out trades (especially if in the short term they are wrong). Short interest represents where shorting has been initiated but not closed out.
Lithium miner Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) was the most shorted. Despite the strong year 2019 has been it has lost 45 per cent. An avalanche of supply has hit the lithium sector and while no one is sure when it will end, shorters are sitting tight.
Shorters are also sitting tight with Myer (ASX:MYR) and Speedcast (ASX:SDA), both victims of share price crashes.
One new stock we noted was cannabis play Botanix Pharmaceuticals (ASX:BOT). It has begun to fall in the last month after a capital raising but has still more than doubled this winter.
Biotech company Imugene (ASX:IMU) is one of those newly shorted in recent days.
These companies’ ‘make or break’ moments are clinical trials, especially phase II, and Imugene is in the middle of one with its anti-gastric cancer vaccine. If a drug fails the test, shareholders lose but shorters will win.
Among other stocks shorted were Andrew-Forrest backed Buru Energy (ASX:BRU) and NBN-provider Uniti Wireless (ASX:UWL).
Mineral sands explorer Sheffield Resources (ASX:SFX) was also shorted. While the company is preparing the production phase of the Thunderbird project, zircon prices are currently low.