Recently released short interest figures from both the NYSE and Nasdaq show that short interest as a percentage of float is currently at record levels. On the NYSE, the mid-month short interest report hit a level of 4.15%, which is record high. On the S&P 500, short interest is even higher. As of mid March, 5.4% of the float of S&P 500 listed companies were sold short. This represents an increase of 53% over the last year!
On a sector by sector basis, short interest also remains at elevated levels. In our bi-monthly short interest report available to Bespoke Premium members, we found that for nine of the ten S&P sectors, short interest as a percentage of float is currently at or close to a 52-week high.
In addition to monitoring short interest levels of indices, sectors, and groups, the Bespoke Short Interest Report also highlights stocks that are showing the largest increases and decreases in short interest relative to their ranges of the last year. One name that stood out in our most recent report was Robbins & Myers (RBN). In the NYSE's mid-month short interest report, short interest as a percentage of float increased by 52% from 7.3% up to 11.1%. While sharp increases in short interest can have multiple, and often benign explanations, in the case of RBN, it appears as though many investors were anticipating a weak earnings report. Today, the stock is trading down 20% after lowering guidance.
The Bespoke Short Interest Report is available to all Bespoke Premium members. To view a sample copy of this report, please email [email protected].