Wall Street and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are on the same side for once — they're piling scepticism onto the credit-ratings firm Equifax

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has railed against the credit-ratings industry, while short-sellers are piling in to bearish bets.
  • Short-selling positions in the credit agency Equifax have spiked to their highest level since its data-leak scandal in 2017.
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has slammed the company as part of what she calls a “dice game” of privatised credit scoring.
  • Part of short-sellers’ motivation may relate to class-action lawsuits resulting from the 2017 Equifax data breach, one of the largest in US history.

Short-sellers are piling in to bets against Equifax, one of the US’s largest credit agencies, after class-action lawsuits and criticism by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez heighten focus on what the New York Democrat calls a “dice game.”

Part of short-sellers’ motivation may be related to class-action lawsuits resulting from the 2017 Equifax data breach, one of the largest in US history.

Bearish hedge funds have built up a $US600 million short position in Equifax, according to data from IHS Markit. That’s the highest amount since September 2017, when Equifax announced a data breach that could have jeopardized sensitive information from 143 million customers.

The shares have plummeted about 25% since. But IHS Market says the number of short positions in Equifax have increased alongside the company’s share price in recent weeks.

The data breach put the role of private credit scores into the public consciousness, with Ocasio-Cortez tweeting out against the industry on Saturday:

The company was also sued by the renowned short-seller Carson Block, the founder of Muddy Waters Capital, over the scandal.

A short-seller borrows shares, sells them, waits for the stock to fall, and then repurchases them at the lower price. The short-seller then returns them to the lender and pockets the difference.

Equifax reports in early March. Business Insider has attempted to contact Equifax for comment.

Short interest in EquifaxIHS MarkitShort interest in Equifax reached $US1 billion in late 2017.
Equifax share priceMarkets InsiderEquifax shares have recovered some but are still down from news of the data breach.

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