Short interest figures for the middle of June were released after the close on Friday, and yesterday we sent out our regular update of trends and statistics regarding short interest levels for different sectors and groups, including how they have performed relative to their short interest levels. One interesting chart that stood out is the interplay between short interest and price in the Energy sector. As shown in the chart below, there has been strong inverse correlation between the two where falling prices have been accompanied by rising average levels of short interest as a percent of float and vice versa. Earlier this year, when the Energy sector was at multi-year lows, short interest as a percentage of float for the sector was at levels similar to the Financial sector during the crisis. Now, as prices have rebounded, shorts are scrambling to cover, although at a level of around 11% the sector still has the highest levels of short interest.
The table below lists 21 stocks in the S&P 1500 that have more than 30% of their free-floating shares sold short. For each name, we also include the stock’s performance so far in June. Overall, the performance of these stocks hasn’t been too far off from the overall market. On an average basis, these 21 names are down more than the S&P 1500 (-4.27% vs -3.83%), but on a median basis they are faring better. What is interesting to note, though, is that the six stocks that have the highest short interest levels are all down in June.