Short interest figures for the middle of February were released after the close on Tuesday, so we have just updated our regular report on short interest trends for the market, sectors, and individual stocks for clients. Below we wanted to quickly highlight S&P 1500 stocks that have more than a third of their float sold short.

Through the middle of February, 17 stocks in the S&P 500 had more than a third of their float sold short, while six of those names had more than half of their float shorted.  Sentiment can’t get much more negative than it is for Applied Optoelectronics (AAOI), which has nearly two-thirds of its float sold short.  The negative bet has been paying off for traders again this month as the stock is down over 15%.  Right behind AAOI, Big 5 Sporting Goods (BGFV) has over 61% of its float sold short, but this trade has gone against traders as the stock is up over 6% MTD.  As is often the case when looking at a list of most shorted stocks, names from the Consumer Discretionary sector dominate the list with over half of the names. Of the remaining eight stocks on the list, no sector accounts for more than two names.

In terms of overall performance, the seventeen stocks listed have seen an average decline of 3.58% this month (median: -9.13%) compared to a decline of 2.39% for the S&P 1500. The fact that these stocks are underperforming even when one of them is up nearly 70% (FOSL) illustrates just how weak the rest of the stocks have been.  It also doesn’t help the cause for the most shorted stocks that MiMedx (MDXG) has declined more than 55%!

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