The 16 Stocks That Investors Are Shorting Like Crazy

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Photo: David July via Flickr

Investors have been busy as the markets have rebounded from their summer lows. But that doesn’t mean they’re bullish on everything listed on the S&P.Of the 16 companies with the most short interest to total float, more than half saw investors increase their negative positions this September.

And these last several days have seen some former darlings get creamed.

Netflix, Green Mountain, and Amazon have gotten crushed for one reason or another.


#16: Pitney Bowes Inc. (PBI)

Total Short Interest: 27,044,945 shares

Percentage of Float: 13.4%

Company: Pitney Bowes sells mail processing systems, which faces continuing competition in a rapidly declining market.

Source: Bloomberg

#15: Express Scripts Inc. (ESRX)

Total Short Interest: 69,157,686 shares

Percentage of Float: 14.2%

Company: The company recently announced a deal to take over Medco Health and is battling Walgreens over pharmacy reimbursements, which could cut into earnings.

Source: Bloomberg

#14: Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN)

Total Short Interest: 16,994,842 shares

Percentage of Float: 14.2%

Company: The company is revamping assortment going into 2012 as it missed key fashion trends this year.

Source: Bloomberg

#13: Netflix Inc. (NFLX)

Total Short Interest: 8,101,524 shares

Percentage of Float: 15.9%

Company: The company has stumbled badly this year as it raised prices and then announced it was splitting the company, only to change course on the latter.

Source: Bloomberg

#12: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)

Total Short Interest: 94,258,660 shares

Percentage of Float: 16.2%

Company: AMD has faced increasing difficulty from Intel as the larger tech giant outspends it and tries to make further inroads in its lucrative server market.

Source: Bloomberg

#11: Diamond Offshore Drilling (DO)

Total Short Interest: 11,222,567 shares

Percentage of Float: 16.3%

Company: Investors are lowering short positions in the offshore driller as energy companies begin to drill again.

Source: Bloomberg

#10: Vulcan Materials Co. (VMC)

Total Short Interest: 24,015,725 shares

Percentage of Float: 18.6%

Company: The construction material provider has been mired as the overall housing market stagnates.

Source: Bloomberg

#9: Lennar Corp. (LEN)

Total Short Interest: 31,067,111 shares

Percentage of Float: 20.6%

Company: Lennar, like Vulcan, faces high short as home builders see tremendous difficulty in the market.

Source: Bloomberg

#8: United States Steel (X)

Total Short Interest: 31,255,810 shares

Percentage of Float: 21.8%

Company: Commodity prices have been a major headwind for U.S. Steel, which finally turned a profit this third quarter. Nonetheless, Goldman recently downgraded the firm to a sell.

Source: Bloomberg


Total Short Interest: 47,084,824 shares

Percentage of Float: 22.5%

Company: Short interest remains high as the company's debt-to-equity levels are staggeringly higher than its peers.

Source: Bloomberg

#6: AK Steel Holding Corp. (AKS)

Total Short Interest: 23,769,185 shares

Percentage of Float: 22.8%

Company: The company's massive debt position has burdened the firm, which did not release guidance along with its most recent earnings announcement -- a sign Wall Street frowns upon.

Source: Bloomberg

#5: J.C. Penney Co. (JCP)

Total Short Interest: 33,848,008 shares

Percentage of Float: 25.2%

Company: J.C. Penney is embarking on an ambitious turn around plan with Apple's former head of retail at the helm. Investors are slowly pulling back short activity.

Source: Bloomberg

#4: GameStop Corp. (GME)

Total Short Interest: 37,770,006 shares

Percentage of Float: 27.6%

Company: The company remains a takeover target and has traded on that news.

Source: Bloomberg

#3: AutoNation Inc. (AN)

Total Short Interest: 12,240,344 shares

Percentage of Float: 32.1%

Company: A bevy of downgrades has left this auto seller with heavy short interest. Just this September Bank of America downgraded the company.

Source: Bloomberg

#2: Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD)

Total Short Interest: 12,009,362 shares

Percentage of Float: 32.4%

Company: Sears has struggled under its debt load, K-Mart acquisition and poor product mix. The company is hoping a resilient consumer will help boost it.

Source: Bloomberg

#1: First Solar Inc. (FSLR)

Total Short Interest: 20,335,825 shares

Percentage of Float: 34.2%

Company: After Solyndra's downfall, investors have been increasingly sceptical of clean tech firms. First Solar has faced difficulty securing some government loans, which have increased costs.

Source: Bloomberg

Other stocks aren't as dogged by short interest

Citi takes a different perspective on these 20 stocks.
Check out the firm's best pick list >

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