Short & Caught: The 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”.
Since Stockhead began Short & Caught it has used four different metrics and the degree to which they change each fortnight varies significantly.
The most consistently changing metric is the percentage change in short interest. While investors can “go short” for long periods of time, this metric shows investors have recently began to short the stock.
Stockhead has found 23 ASX small caps with short interest percentage change above 200 per cent and more than $100,000 short interest against it.
While the top three stocks from last fortnight remain – Metro Mining (ASX: MMI), Macmahon Holdings (ASX: MAH) and Arafura Resources (ASX: ARU) – Stockhead noticed several new stocks.
One was Splitit (ASX: SPT). You may remember buy now pay later stock Sezzle (ASX: SZL) which doubled on its first day. In case you’d forgotten, Splitit went up as well, 10 times in 6 weeks.
It’s still more than double its price but fallen over 75 per cent from its peak – from $2 to 48 cents; and it’s an easy target for shorters.
Speaking of easy targets, if you think crypto and blockchain is a bubble that has burst or is about to, this sector would be another one. Crypto and blockchain venture capital firm Fatfish Blockchain (ASX: FFG) is a new target of shorters with nearly $900,000 in short interest – a 963 per cent increase in a month.
Despite lithium and rare earths being hot we noticed Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) and Sheffield Resources (ASX: SFX) as targets as well.
Yet none of these stocks have anywhere near as high bare short interest figures as these ones. The most shorted stock was Queensland gas explorer Senex Energy (ASX: SXY), which could be affected if a proposed gas reservation policy comes to fruition.
Even as Dacian Gold (ASX: DCN) continues to recover from its plunge back in June, investors are continuing to hold short positions in it – to the tune of $16.65 million.
Myer (ASX: MYR) is also shorted. It has not given any earnings guidance but inevitably investors think its decline will continue. September 12 is its date. However JB Hi-Fi’s (ASX: JBH) strong results yesterday would show it’s not all doom and gloom for retail.
While at Stockhead we exclude large caps from our searches of shorted stocks we noticed JB Hi-Fi has $16.3 million in short interest – not as much as Myer but still significant. But both are nowhere near the most shorted large cap – AMP (ASX: AMP) with $261.9 million.