The 16 Stocks That People Are Shorting Like Crazy

stock market

Photo: AP

Given all the uncertainty in the economy and the huge run-up in stocks, taking any sort of investment position with conviction seems like a frightening thought.But some investors are showing some spine and have set their sights on stocks they believe will get killed by our volatile moment.

The stocks seeing the highest short interest as a per cent of float, according to Bloomberg, range across all sectors, from supermarkets to materials. Some of the firms are less than a decade old, others have been around since the dinosaurs.

For these stocks, bulls should be wary given the negative sentiment, while bears should be wary of crushing short squeezes.

Approach with caution.

BorgWarner Inc

Short per cent of float:
17.15%

YTD return:
+28.12%

Sector: Automative parts manufacturing

BorgWarner faces strong competition and has a concentrated customer base.

Source: Zacks

Federated Investors Inc

Short per cent of float:
17.29%

YTD return:
+30.83%

Sector: Asset management

Federated saw disappointing Q4 EPS, fuelled by lower top-line growth and an increase in voluntary fee waivers.

Source: Zacks

Frontier Communications Group

Short per cent of float:
18.61%

YTD return:
-21.39%

Sector: Telecom

Frontier has weak subscriber growth and declining revenue. It's also been criticised for inefficiently integrated assets it bought from Verizon.

Source: Zacks

Express Scripts Holding Co.

Short per cent of float:
19.87%

YTD return:
-24.19%

Sector: Pharmaceutical

Express missed EPS estimates for Q4 by $0.03.

Source: Zacks

Lennar Corp.

Short per cent of float:
21.47%

YTD return:
+28.46%

Sector: Homebuilding

Lennar appears to be the main homebuilder investors upon which have focused their housing market paranoia. The stock was recently downgraded by Susquehanna.

Source: Forbes

Expedia Inc.

Short per cent of float:
21.47%

YTD return:
+6.17%

Sector: Travel

The market punished Expedia''s spinoff of TripAdvisor in December by cutting the stock's price by more than 50%, and remained unmoved by the company's acquisition of Medco this month. The company missed EPS estimates for Q4 by $0.03.

Source: Zacks

AutoNation Inc.

Short per cent of float:
22.09%

YTD return:
-5.46%

Sector: Autoparts retailer

The stock has more than tripled since its 2009 lows.

Source: Forbes

Pitney Bowes Inc.

Short per cent of float:
23.9%

YTD return:
-8.87%

Sector: Telecom and printing

Investors get down on Pitney as more online service providers grab market share.

Source: Seeking Alpha

Safeway Inc.

Short per cent of float:
24.75%

YTD return:
+1.91%

Sector: Supermarket

Credit Suisse recently issued a report finding Safeway had an unexpectedly large unfunded liability for its pension plan. The bank also downgraded SWY from 'outperform' to 'neutral.'

Source: Zacks

JC Penney Co Inc.

Short per cent of float:
24.99%

YTD return:
-3.28%

Sector: Clothing retail

J.C. Penney announced job cuts earlier this month and continues to seek ways to lower expenses.

Source: Reuters

US Steel Corp.

Short per cent of float:
25.12%

YTD return:
+3.02%

Sector: Materials

U.S. Steel shares remain quite volatile. The company had fiscal 2011 loss per share of 47 cents.

Source: Reuters

RR Donnelley & Sons Co.

Short per cent of float:
30.92%

YTD return:
-19.48%

Sector: Telecom and printing

Forbes recently ran an article with the headline, 'R.R. Donnelley Prints Everything -- Including an 8% Dividend Yield -- Except Profits.' It has not tapped into emerging markets and faces competition from digital services.

Source: Forbes

Sears Holdings Corp.

Short per cent of float:
32.6%

YTD return:
+78.21%

Sector: Retail

Sears has been trying to sell off assets to raise cash, but remains featured in articles titled, '10 industries that are dying in America.'

Source: Yahoo

First Solar Inc.

Short per cent of float:
34.1%

YTD return:
-40.32%

Sector: Alternative energy

First Solar recently announced it was cutting 30% of its workforce. It's been hit by the Eurozone crisis (the continent had the greatest demand for solar panels) and falling raw material prices.

Source: Forbes

SUPERVALU Inc.

Short per cent of float:
34.1%

YTD return:
-26.48%

Sector: Supermarket

SUPERVALU recently announced management changes at several of its grocery chains. It reported a $3.54 loss per share.

Source: Seeking Alpha

GameStop Corp.

Short per cent of float:
47.04%

YTD return:
-6.31%

Sector: Retail

GameStop plans to close 50 more stores than it opens this year. The company faces competition from web providers.

Source: Fool.com

Here are some more stocks you might want to short

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