23 stocks hedge funds are shorting like crazy

With stocks crossing new highs ever so often these days, going short can be tricky.

And traders at the big hedge funds have their targets on stocks they believe will tumble.

Goldman Sachs’ latest Hedge Fund Trend Monitor identifies 50 stocks in its ‘Very Important Short Position List.’ It tracked the S&P 500 stocks with the highest total dollar value of short interest outstanding as of March 31.

The list uses the dollar value of short interest outstanding to gauge short portfolio holdings.

We’ve ranked the top 23 stocks by value of short interest, from smallest to largest.

AbbVie

Ticker: ABBV

Sub-sector: Pharmaceuticals

Value of short interest: $US1.7 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 2%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 14

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 6%

Recent news: AbbVie acquired cancer drug maker Pharmacyclics for $US261.25 per share in cash and stock -- a deal worth $US21 billion.

Source: Goldman Sachs

salesforce.com

Ticker: CRM

Sub-sector: Application Software

Value of short interest: $US1.8 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 4%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 6

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 6%

Recent news: Salesforce shares jumped to an all-time high on Tuesday after a solid earnings report. The company has reportedly hired advisors to help with a potential takeover bid.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Merck

Ticker: MRK

Sub-sector: Pharmaceuticals

Value of short interest: $US1.9 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 1%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 7

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 5%

Recent news: 'Merck KGaA's first-quarter earnings missed analyst estimates as the German manufacturer of drugs and specialty materials spent more on marketing and research as it tries to reinvigorate its pharmaceutical business,' Bloomberg reported.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Ticker: REGN

Sub-sector: Biotechnology

Value of short interest: $US2.0 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 6%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 2

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 8%

Recent news: Regeneron and Sanofi announced positive results from a Phase 3 test of a drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis on Thursday.

Source: Goldman Sachs

United Technologies

Ticker: UTX

Sub-sector: Aerospace & Defence

Value of short interest: $US2.1 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 2%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 6

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 4%

Recent news: The company is looking for buyers for its Sikorsky Aircraft business, which makes helicopters, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Chevron

Ticker: CVX

Sub-sector: Integrated Oil & Gas

Value of short interest: $US2.1 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 1%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 3

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 4%

Recent news: Chevron posted a big beat on earnings and revenues in the first quarter like many other energy companies.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Twenty-First Century Fox

Ticker: FOXA

Sub-sector: Movies & Entertainment

Value of short interest: $US2.2 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 4%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 9

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 5%

Recent news: Berkshire Hathaway disclosed a stake of 4.7 million shares in Twenty-First Century Fox in February.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Halliburton

Ticker: HAL

Sub-sector: Oil & Gas Equipment Services

Value of short interest: $US2.3 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 5%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 7

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 5%

Recent news: Halliburton reported an 'unprecedented decline in drilling activity' in the first quarter due to the oil crash.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Boeing

Ticker: BA

Sub-sector: Aerospace & Defence

Value of short interest: $US2.3 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 2%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 2

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 3%

Recent news: Chinese carrier Ruili Airlines and two leasing companies placed a $US6 billion-order for 60 narrow-body jets, according to Time.

Source: Goldman Sachs

General Electric

Ticker: GE

Sub-sector: Aerospace & Defence

Value of short interest: $US2.3 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 2%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 2

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 3%

Recent news: Chinese carrier Ruili Airlines and two leasing companies placed a $US6 billion order for 60 narrow-body jets, according to Time.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Exelon

Ticker: EXC

Sub-sector: Electric Utilities

Value of short interest: $US2.6 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 9%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 5

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 5%

Recent news: 'Exelon Corp. and Pepco Holdings announced Monday (May 17) the companies would accept the conditions imposed by Maryland regulators on their proposed merger,' the Baltimore Sun reported.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Caterpillar

Ticker: CAT

Sub-sector: Construction Machinery & Heavy Trucks

Value of short interest: $US2.7 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 5%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 2

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 3%

Recent news: Caterpillar beat expectations on earnings and sales in the first quarter, and forecast lower sales in China for construction equipment.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Deere & Co

Ticker: DE

Sub-sector: Agricultural & Farm Machinery

Value of short interest: $US2.8 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 9%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 2

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 5%

Recent news: Deere expects a 19% drop in sales in the second quarter due to falling crop prices.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Johnson & Johnson

Ticker: JNJ

Sub-sector: Pharmaceuticals

Value of short interest: $US3.0 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 1%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 6

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 3%

Recent news: The strong dollar and other currency impacts caused first quarter sales to fall 4.1%.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Pfizer

Ticker: PFE

Sub-sector: Pharmaceuticals

Value of short interest: $US3.0 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 1%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 15

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 4%

Recent news: Pfizer agreed to buy an $US87.5 million stake in Dutch biotech company AM-Pharma, which is developing drugs to treat acute kidney disease.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Exxon Mobil

Ticker: XOM

Sub-sector: Integrated Oil & Gas

Value of short interest: $US3.2 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 1%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 4

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 2%

Recent news: On Wednesday, Exxon Mobil announced a 'significant discovery' of oil near Guyana.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Kinder Morgan

Ticker: KMI

Sub-sector: Oil & Gas Storage & Transportation

Value of short interest: $US3.3 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 5%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 11

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 6%

Recent news: 'More than 300,000 gallons of gasoline have leaked from Texas-based energy company Kinder Morgan's pipeline in Belton, S.C., since a structure failure in December, according to the Savannah Riverkeeper (a non-profit,) the Savannah Morning News reported.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Intel

Ticker: INTC

Sub-sector: Semiconductors

Value of short interest: $US3.5 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 2%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 5

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 8%

Recent news: Intel has reportedly signed a standstill agreement with Altera that expires on June 1, according to Reuters. This gives the company the option to start an aggressive takeover bid.

Source: Goldman Sachs

IBM

Ticker: IBM

Sub-sector: IT Consulting & Other Services

Value of short interest: $US4.3 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 3%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 5

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 9%

Recent news: IBM is investing $US3 billion in the 'Internet of Things' over the next four years.

Source: Goldman Sachs

Walt Disney

Ticker: DIS

Sub-sector: IT Consulting & Other Services

Value of short interest: $US4.5 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 3%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 9

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 4%

Recent news: Disney's stock jumped to an all-time high May 5 after the company reported a beat on earnings and revenues in the second quarter.

Source: Goldman Sachs

AT&T

Ticker: T

Sub-sector: Integrated Telecommunication Services

Value of short interest: $US11.1 billion

Short interest as a % of Float: 6%

No. of funds with stock as Top 10 holding: 3

Avg. portfolio weight when stock ranks among Top 10 holdings: 6%

Recent news: A merger between AT&T and DirecTV is still in the works, waiting for regulatory approval.

Source: Goldman Sachs

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