30 Stocks Traders Are Shorting Like Crazy

It’s hard being a trader shorting stocks.

Short sellers, or investors betting that the price of a stock will go down, have to overcome unexpected fees, as well as simple maths: you can only ever make 100% on a short position, but your losses are potentially infinite.

And just this morning, SodaStream, a stock that is heavily shorted, saw shares pop after Bloomberg reported the company is in talks to go private.

But this doesn’t stop traders from taking their best shot.

Year-to-date, all of the major stock indexes are higher, with the Nasdaq gaining more than 7.5% and the benchmark S&P 500 adding 7%. Despite these broad gains, we’ve found 30 stocks with market caps larger than $US2 billion that people are betting against like crazy.

On the list, of course, is Herbalife, the company that hedge funder Bill Ackman has accused of being a pyramid scheme.

Other high-profile companies on the list include electric carmaker Tesla and yoga apparel maker lululemon.

This list, however, also exhibits two major themes: China and solar energy.

We ranked the stock by short interest as a percentage of shares outstanding, going from the least shorted to the most.


Ticker: SUNE

Short interest: 25.5%

YTD return: 66.5%

Sector: Solar Energy

Comment: Sunedison, which makes solar panels and semiconductor materials, recently announced an agreement with Community Energy to complete a Colorado solar power plant project.

data from FinViz


Ticker: JD

Short interest: 25.7%

Return since IPO: 36%

Sector: Online Retail

Comment: JD.com went public in May, and on its first day of trading, the stock rose 15%.

data from FinViz


Ticker: SPWR

Short interest: 26.3%

YTD return: 28.6%

Sector: Solar Energy

Comment: SunPower is set to release Q2 results on July 31, with analysts expecting the company to report a profit of $US0.26 per share on revenue of $US623.54 million.

data from FinViz


Ticker: CVC

Short interest: 26.4%

YTD return: 7%

Sector: Cable Service Providers

Comment: Cablevision's CEO is James Dolan, who also serves as executive chairman of The Madison Square Garden company and is the principal owner of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.

data from FinViz

Veeva Systems

Ticker: VEEV

Short interest: 26.5%

YTD return: -24.8%

Sector: Healthcare Services

Comment: On July 10, two Veeva Systems directors, Young Sohn and Kevin Spain, stepped down from the company's board.

data from FinViz

U.S. Steel

Ticker: X

Short interest: 26.7%

YTD return: -5.7%

Sector: Basic Materials

Comment: On June 27, S&P announced that U.S. Steel would be removed from the S&P 500 in favour of Martin Marietta Materials. U.S. Steel joined the S&P MidCap 400 after the close on July 1.

data from FinViz


Ticker: MNK

Short interest: 27.3%

YTD return: 46.4%

Sector: Pharmaceuticals

Comment: In April, the company announced an agreement to acquire Questcor Pharmaceuticals, a company that appears later on this list, in a deal worth $US5.6 billion

data from FinViz

Santander Consumer USA

Ticker: SC

Short interest: 27.6%

Return since IPO: -20.6%

Sector: Financials

Comment: Santander made its debut on the NYSE on January 23, and investors are already betting against the consumer lender.

data from FinViz

J.C. Penney

Ticker: JCP

Short interest: 27.7%

YTD return: -1.6%

Sector: Department Stores

Comment: J.C. Penney was one of the biggest stories of 2013, and in 2014 has seen performance recover, reporting same-store sales that grew 6.2% in the first quarter.

data from FinViz


Ticker: INVN

Short interest: 27.8%

YTD return: 28.4%

Sector: Technology

Comment: On July 7, InvenSense announced a deal to acquire Movea, which makes motion-tracking software, for $US81 million.

data from FinViz


Ticker: WUBA

Short interest: 28.1%

YTD Return: 33.5%

Comment: 58.com, which operates an online local merchant marketplace in China, recently announced an agreement to take a 19.9% stake in Chinese internet services provider Tencent for $US736 million.

data from FinViz


Ticker: HLF

Short interest: 28.2%

YTD return: -16.4%

Sector: Consumer Goods

Comment: Bill Ackman recently gave a massive presentation outlining some of his new findings at the company he is famously short. The stock rallied in response.

data from FinViz


Ticker: THRX

Short interest: 28.6%

YTD return: -32.1%

Sector: Biopharmaceuticals

Comment: Theravance and its partner GlaxoSmithKline announced on July 1 that they are seeking expanded use for their respiratory drug, Breo Ellipta, from the U.S. FDA.

data from FinViz


Ticker: MNKD

Short interest: 28.7%

YTD return: 82.7%

Sector: Biopharmaceuticals

Comment: On June 27, the company announced that its Afrezza diabetes treatment received FDA approval.

data from FinViz


Ticker: GME

Short interest: 29.4%

YTD return: -7.1

Sector: Retail

Comment: A bet against this stock has been a bet against video game sales, and in the first quarter the company reported new software sales declined 20.4%.

data from FinViz

Ubiquiti Networks

Ticker: UBNT

Short interest: 29.7%

YTD return: -11.7%

Sector: Information Technology

Comment: On May 29, the company announced a $US75 million share repurchase program.

data from FinViz


Ticker: QCOR

Short interest: 30%

YTD return: 78.3%

Sector: Pharmaceuticals

Comment: In April, Questcor and Mallinckrodt announced an agreement to merge in a deal expected to close during the third quarter. The New York Times noted, however, there are pretty big risks associated with Questcor's Achtar immune-system drug.

data from FinViz

GT Advanced Technologies

Ticker: GTAT

Short interest: 30.4%

YTD return: 72.4%

Sector: Industrial Machinery

Comment: GT Advanced shares fell about 5% earlier this month after CLSA analyst Mark Heller cut his outlook for sapphire production, reported Theflyonthewall.com.

data from FinViz

3D Systems

Ticker: DDD

Short interest: 31%

YTD return: -42.6%

Sector: Printing Technology

Comment: 3D Systems went crazy in 2013, gaining more than 170%, but in January hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson said the stock could tumble 90%. So far, his bet is working out.

data from FinViz


Autohome CEO James Zhi Qin

Ticker: ATHM

Short interest: 31.6

YTD return: -7.6%

Sector: Auto Dealers

Comment: Autohome, which sells cars online in China, announced an agreement with Baidu last month to enhance search results for computers running Baidu's Aladdin platform.

data from FinViz


Ticker: Z

Short interest: 31.8%

YTD return: 54.3%

Sector: Real Estate

Comment: Short-selling blog Citron Research recently published another report criticising the company's recent deal with Douglas Elliman Real Estate, a large residential broker in New York City.

data from FinViz


Ticker: BBRY

Short interest: 31.8%

YTD return: 37.5%

Sector: Technology

Comment: BlackBerry shares have been on a tear since the handset maker reported earnings last month that showed it turned a $US0.04 per share profit in the first quarter.

data from FinViz

Cliffs Natural Resources

Cliffs Natural Resources operations in Michigan

Ticker: CLF

Short interest: 32.2%

YTD return: -40.8%

Sector: Materials

Comment: Coal stocks have been getting killed amid a slowdown in China and increased regulation in the U.S. In April, the company reported first quarter revenue that fell 18%.

data from FinViz


Ticker: SCTY

Short interest: 32.5%

YTD return: 26.5%

Sector: Renewable Energy

Comment: In June, SolarCity announced plans to build one of the world's largest solar plants in upstate New York. The company's chairman is Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, another company that appears on this list.

data from FinViz

Amtrust Financial Systems

Ticker: AFSI

Short interest: 39.7%

YTD return: 25.8%

Sector: Insurance

Comment: Amtrust Financial has increased gross written insurance premiums 36% each year over the last five, but some have begun to wonder if the company can sustain its growth.

data from FinViz


Ticker: ZU

Short interest: 50.4%

YTD return: -12.6%

Sector: Online Retail

Comment: Zulily is a daily deals site for mums, and we recently toured their Seattle offices. In May, the company reported sales that grew 87% in the first quarter and raised its fiscal-year revenue expectations.

data from FinViz

Myriad Genetics

Protesters demand a ban on human gene patents

Ticker: MYGN

Short interest: 51.1%

YTD return: 78%

Sector: Biopharmaceuticals

Comment: Myriad, a molecular diagnostics company, reported third quarter revenue that rose 19% to $US176.2 million, and on June 9, the company's CFO James Evans announced his retirement.

data from FinViz

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