GOLDMAN: Here Are 24 Stocks That Hedge Funds Are Shorting Like Crazy

It’s been three weeks since the S&P 500 closed at its all-time high of 1,709.

Some think this is just a mild pullback in an ongoing bull market.

Others think this is the beginning of a big sell-off.

In Goldman Sachs’ new “Hedge Fund Trend Monitor” report, Amanda Schneider lists out the 50 favourite short positions of the 708 hedged funds that the firm follows.

“The [Very Important Short Position] returned 17% YTD in 2013, providing a better return than shorting S&P 500 (19.5%),” said Schneider.

We ranked the top 24 stocks on the list based on the dollar value of short interest.

24. Target

Ticker: TGT

Value of short interest: $US1.3 billion

YTD Return: 18%

Sector: General Merchandise Stores

Comment: Target's Q2 earnings dropped 13% from a year ago.

Source: Goldman Sachs

22. Deere & Co.

Ticker: DE

Value of short interest: $US1.3 billion

YTD Return: -1%

Sector: Construction & Farm Machinery & Heavy Trucks

Comment: Deere beat earnings recently, with revenue jumping 12% to $US10.01 billion from $US8.93 billion a year ago.

Source: Goldman Sachs

21. M&T Bank Corp.

Ticker: MTB

Value of short interest: $US1.4 billion

YTD Return: 20%

Sector: Regional Banks

Comment: M&T recently announced a quarterly cash dividend of $US0.70 per share.

Source: Goldman Sachs

19. CenturyLink

Ticker: CTL

Value of short interest: $US1.4 billion

YTD Return: -12%

Sector: Integrated Telecommunication Services

Comment: Centurylink reported mixed earnings this month, with consumer revenues down 3.0% year over year in Q2.

Source: Goldman Sachs

18. UPS

Ticker: UPS

Value of short interest: $US1.4 billion

YTD Return: 19%

Sector: Air Freight & Logistics

Comment: UPS said its Q2 earnings disappointed because international shippers opted for slower services. Profit fell 4% last quarter.

Source: Goldman Sachs

17. 3M Co

Ticker: MMM

Value of short interest: $US1.5 billion

YTD Return: 26%

Sector: Industrial Conglomerates

Comment: The company purchased ceramic producer Ceradyne for $US860 million last year but has had a harder time finding attractive acquisition prospects this year.

Source: Goldman Sachs

15. ConocoPhillips

Ticker: COP

Value of short interest: $US1.6 billion

YTD Return: 20%

Sector: Oil & Gas Exploration & Production

Comment: Thanks to the spinoff of its refinery business, ConocoPhillips' Q2 earnings fell 9.6%.

Source: Goldman Sachs

14. Wal-Mart

Ticker: WMT

Value of short interest: $US1.6 billion

YTD Return: 11%

Sector: Hypermarkets & Super Centres

Comment: The world's third largest retailer missed analyst earnings expectations last quarter.

Source: Goldman Sachs

13. EMC Corp.

Ticker: EMC

Value of short interest: $US1.7 billion

YTD Return: 3%

Sector: Computer Storage & Peripherals

Comment: The information infrastructure company met analyst expectations for Q2, with revenue increasing 4% compared to the year-earlier quarter.

Source: Goldman Sachs

12. General Electric

Ticker: GE

Value of short interest: $US1.7 billion

YTD Return: 16%

Sector: Industrial Conglomerates

Comment: GE reported Q2 EPS of $US0.36, down 5% from the year-ago quarter.

Source: Goldman Sachs

11. Berkshire Hathaway

Ticker: BRK.B

Value of short interest: $US1.7 billion

YTD Return: 28%

Sector: Property & Casualty Insurance

Comment: Berkshire beat earnings estimates in Q2. It reported total operating income at $US3.919 billion, higher than its $US3.720 billion in the same period last year.

Source: Goldman Sachs

9. Chevron

Ticker: CVX

Value of short interest: $US2.2 billion

YTD Return: 14%

Sector: Integrated Oil & Gas

Comment: Chevron's Q2 earnings dropped 26% thanks to higher costs and a beleaguered crude oil market.

Source: Goldman Sachs

8. Verizon

Ticker: VZ

Value of short interest: $US2.3 billion

YTD Return: 16%

Sector: Integrated Telecommunication Services

Comment: AT&T added 551,000 postpaid wireless customers and sold 6.8 million smartphones in the second quarter.

Source: Goldman Sachs

7. Caterpillar

Ticker: CAT

Value of short interest: $US2.7 billion

YTD Return: -3%

Sector: Construction & Farm Machinery & Heavy Trucks

Comment: A big exposure to the struggling mining industry meant Caterpillar's Q2 earnings dropped 43%.

Source: Goldman Sachs

6. Merck

Ticker: MRK

Value of short interest: $US2.9 billion

YTD Return: 19%

Sector: Pharmaceuticals

Comment: Merck reported Q2 net income at $US906 million, down from $US1.79 billion a year earlier.

Source: Goldman Sachs

5. AT&T

Ticker: T

Value of short interest: $US3.2 billion

YTD Return: 6%

Sector: Integrated Telecommunication Services

Comment: AT&T met analyst earnings expectations, at $US0.67 EPS in Q2.

Source: Goldman Sachs

4. IBM

Ticker: IBM

Value of short interest: $US3.4 billion

YTD Return: -2%

Sector: IT Consulting & Other Services

Comment: IBM's revenue dropped 3% in Q2 to $US24.9 billion from $US25.78 billion.

Source: Goldman Sachs

2. Exxon Mobil

Ticker: XOM

Value of short interest: $US4.5 billion

YTD Return: 4%

Sector: Integrated Oil & Gas

Comment: Weak refining margins saw earnings fall about 14% from the year-earlier quarter.

Source: Goldman Sachs

1. Intel

Ticker: INTC

Value of short interest: $US5.7

YTD Return: 10%

Sector: Semiconductors

Comment: Intel netted $US12.8 billion in revenue in Q2, up 2% from the year-ago quarter. The company still missed earnings expectations of $US12.9 billion.

Source: Goldman Sachs

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