15 Companies That Investors Are Shorting Like Crazy

Safeway Stores

Photo: Safeway Stores

Giants like Time Warner, Gannett, and Chipotle make the list of most shorted stocks, according to a recent UBS note based on its clients.┬áSpecifically, the firm looks at the stocks that are shorted by the most number of clients — so not necessarily the stocks promoted in the highest volume.

Several on the list have been perennial frustrations for short sellers. Others are new names.

Note: Stocks identified are from a UBS report. Data on YTD returns and short per cent of float are from Yahoo Finance.

Time Warner Inc.

YTD return: +12.28%

Short per cent of float: 2.7%

Time Warner has struggled with profits dropping 10% in Q1 and slowdown in advertising revenue.

Intuitive Surgical Inc.

YTD return: +43.2%

Short per cent of float: 4.6%

Intuitive Surgical first made waves by taking on the robotic surgery market in the 1990s. Its growth has slowed since, its valuation remains high, and stiffer competition is expected to see the company's sales slip in coming years.

Safeway Inc.

YTD return: +2.49%

Short per cent of float: 10.4%

Safeway has been struggling with its competition because it isn't as competitively priced as Wal-Mart, in terms of quality it loses to Whole Foods and it faces competition from regional chains, according to Bloomberg.

Frontier Communications

YTD return: -17.27%

Short per cent of float: 9%

fibre optic networkers have smoked bulls because of intense competition, and unique air pockets.


YTD return: +11.31%

Short per cent of float: 10.4%

Value investor Whitney Tilson is short on Salesforce.com on account of insider selling, the company reportedly has the second highest level of insider selling in corporate America and on account of the company diluting shareholders according to Gurufocus.com. The company is also expected to lose market share as competition from Microsoft heats up.

Gannett Company Inc.

YTD return: -6.3%

Short per cent of float: 11%

Media company Gannett's shares have been volatile and the company has been laying off staff across the country in a bid to cut costs. Revenue growth continues to be a challenge for the company.

Advanced Micro Devices

YTD return: -15.4%

Short per cent of float: 11.9%

Six months after Advanced Micro Devices pushed out Dirk Meyer, the company has been without a CEO and it still hasn't made much of a mark in the market for mobile chips.

Chipotle Mexican Grill

YTD return: +44.39%

Short per cent of float: 13.8%

Another high flyer, Chipotle has attracted a ton of sceptics The operating margin for its stores also fell and U.S. prosecutors are investigating the hiring of illegal workers.

United States Steel Corporation

YTD return: -21.33%

Short per cent of float: 14.2%

United States Steel Corp has spent $820,000 lobbying in Q1 on everything from infrastructure to aircraft registration, but has buckled under weak market conditions that have pressured its earnings and cash flow.

Green Mountain Coffee

YTD return: +167.77%

Short per cent of float: 16.6%

Greenmountain has attracted controversy because of its huge growth, sky-high valuations and allegations of tricky accounting. It also faces increased competition in the single-serve coffee front. Short-sellers however been frustrated because the stock seems to keep climbing.


YTD return: +52.09%

Short per cent of float: 21%

Netflix has hurt short sellers like Whitney Tilson because of its rapid growth and valuation. It does face increased competition from YouTube that has launched its own movie streaming features.

First Solar Inc.

YTD return: -2.23%

Short per cent of float: 46.4%

Jim Chanos thinks solar stocks are a bunch of 'hot air'. He expects First Solar to have negative cash flow in a year, key executives have left the company, and has seen massive insider selling at the company according to The Street. He's also short solar stocks because he expects Eurozone austerity to hurt government subsidies for the solar sector.

Ciena Corp.

YTD return: -12.07%

Short per cent of float: N/A

64 million Frontier Communications shares have been sold short, according to Capital IQ. The company has a short interest of 6.4%, according to The Motley Fool.

BHP Billiton

YTD return: -4.07%

Short per cent of float: N/A

Strikes at BHP Billiton's Australian mines have disrupted output and been driving down shares. The company is also heavily dependent on China deriving 25% of its revenue from the country.

JC Penny

YTD return: +8.11%

Short per cent of float: N/A

JC Penny's brand is old and the company's growth has been sluggish. Shares jumped when the company recruited Ron Johnson as its new CEO but progress is expected to be slow. The short interest has increased to 23.01 million shares, according to InvestorPlace.

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