Traders refuse to let Equifax off the hook

Traders aren’t yet ready to let Equifax up off the mat.

Short interest — a measure of wagers that share prices will drop — has continued to climb since initial reports of the company’s massive data breach that cost its CEO his job.

It now sits at $US281 million, according to financial analytics firm S3 Partners. Further, traders are holding 2.6 million shares short, an increase of 570,000 since the hack was first announced.

All of that has occurred even as shares have mounted a 14% recovery, which followed a 35% plunge immediately after the hack was first announced.

That investors have been willing to stick with their short wagers even as Equifax’s stock has rallied slightly shows the level of conviction they have that the company’s fortunes will sour further.

And they still have shares at their disposal, should they want to add to short positions. Right now, only 2.2% of Equifax’s available shares are being used, leaving ample stock available to borrow, says S3.

One last interesting wrinkle to the Equifax story is that it wasn’t short sellers that drove the large drop in the company’s stock — it was long holders who elected to decrease their holdings, according to S3.

In other words, there’s now a disproportionate number of Equifax shareholders holding the stock short, aka betting on it to fail. No matter how you slice it, that’s a dicey position for the company, recent rebound or not.

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