These are the top 15 most-shorted companies in the stock market

  • Short sellers – or traders who wager on stock declines – are alive and well as markets soar to new highs in 2019.
  • High short interest often implies an outright bearish position on a stock, although it can also reflect simple downside hedging.
  • Here are the stocks with the highest notional short interest, according to S3 Partners.
  • Read more on Markets Insider.

Shorts are in for summer.

As the S&P 500 hits a fresh series of new record highs, traders are ramping up positions set to profit from share declines in some of the market’s most popular companies. The likes of Tesla,Netflix, and more are attracting such wagers.

So-called short sellers bet against shares – and make a profit – by borrowing them from investors who own them, selling them at the market price, and waiting for them to decline before purchasing them back to return to the owner. The higher the short interest is, the more money these traders have in play.

That said, holding a short position on a stock can be extremely expensive and risky. If a stock makes significant gains, short sellers can get squeezed by loss – which meanas they have to buy the shares back for more than they originally paid. And that’s on top of the interest spent holding an open position.

It also must be noted, however, that not all short interest implies a directionally bearish bet on a stock. As financial-analytics firm S3 Partners has pointed out, shorts on long-term market juggernauts like Facebook and Amazon are also frequently used as market-wide downside hedges.

The thinking there is that – since the overall market’s direction is so dictated by these heavily weighted companies – it makes sense to purchase a safety net on the individual stocks to avoid broader losses.

In recent months, as the IPO market has caught fire, some of the best-performing newly public stocks have attracted the interest of short sellers. That includes companies like Beyond Meat, which is up 550% since hitting the market.

The situation has gotten so extreme that the company’s shares are often more expensive to borrow than they are to own – a rare situation. Even as borrow fees push higher, there’s not yet been any sign of shorts exiting the trade.

With all of that established, here are the stocks with the largest notional short interest at present time, ranked in increasing order. All data provided by S3 Partners.


15. Sempra Energy

Markets Insider

Ticker: SRE

Market Cap: $US41 billion

Short Interest: $US2.8 billion

Shares Shorted: 20.9 million

Source: S3 Partners


14. Comcast

Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesBrian L. Roberts, CEO of Comcast.

Ticker: CMCSA

Market Cap: $US190.5 billion

Short Interest: $US2.9 billion

Shares Shorted: 70 million

Source: S3 Partners


13. AT&T

Ticker: T

Market Cap: $US238 billion

Short Interest: $US3.8 billion

Shares Shorted: 31 million

Source: S3 Partners


12. Advanced Micro Devices

AMD

Ticker: AMD

Market Cap: $US32.7 billion

Short Interest: $US3.7 billion

Shares Shorted: 121 million

Source: S3 Partners


11. Fidelity National Information Services

Markets Insider

Ticker: FIS

Market Cap: $US39 billion

Short Interest: $US3.8 billion

Shares Shorted: 31 million

Source: S3 Partners


10. Charter Communications

Getty / Bryan Bedder / Stringer

Ticker: CHTR

Market Cap: $US87.3 billion

Short Interest: $US4.3 billion

Shares Shorted: 11 million

Source: S3 Partners


9. Fiserv

Markets Insider

Ticker: FISV

Market Cap: $US35.8 billion

Short Interest: $US4.5 billion

Shares Shorted: 50 million

Source: S3 Partners


8. Facebook

Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Ticker: FB

Market Cap: $US541.97 billion

Short Interest: $US4.7 billion

Shares Shorted: 24 million

Source: S3 Partners


7. Bristol-Myers Squibb

Ticker: BMY

Market Cap: $US74.1 billion

Short Interest: $US4.7 billion

Shares Shorted: 105 million

Source: S3 Partners


6. Visa

Ticker: V

Market Cap: $US297.3 billion

Short Interest: $US6 billion

Shares Shorted: 35 million

Source: S3 Partners


5. Amazon

David Ryder/Getty Images

Ticker: AMZN

Market Cap: $US929.6 billion

Short Interest: $US6.1 billion

Shares Shorted: 3.2 million

Source: S3 Partners


4. Microsoft

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ticker: MSFT

Market Cap: $US1.02 trillion

Short Interest: $US6.2 billion

Shares Shorted: 46 million

Source: S3 Partners


3. Netflix

Netflix

Ticker: NFLX

Market Cap: $US159 billion

Short Interest: $US6.6 billion

Shares Shorted: 17.8 million

Source: S3 Partners


2. Apple

Ticker: AAPL

Market cap: $US912 billion

Short Interest: $US8.3 billion

Shares Shorted: 41 million

Source: S3 Partners


1. Tesla

Xinhua via Getty Images

Ticker: TSLA

Market Cap: $US40 billion

Short Interest: $US9.2 billion

Shares Shorted: 41 million

Source: S3 Partners

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