Short interest figures for the middle of May were released after the close on Wednesday, and below we wanted to provide our updated list of the most heavily shorted stocks in the S&P 1500. The table below lists the 20 stocks in the S&P 1500 that have more than one-third of their free-floating shares sold short as of the middle of May. For each stock, we have also included its performance so far in the month of May. First, in terms of performance, the most heavily shorted stocks are underperforming the broader market. On an average basis, things don’t look that bad as the 20 stocks listed are up 0.63% compared to a gain of 1.11% for the S&P 1500. This average, however, is being skewed by some big gains in stocks like World Acceptance (WRLD), which is up over 50%, and Applied Optoelectronics (AAOI), which is up 40%. On a median basis, these 20 stocks are actually down more than 5%. Breadth among the most heavily shorted stocks further highlights the underlying weakness as just eight of the twenty names are positive for the month of May.
Looking at the list of individual names, a lot of them are probably unfamiliar to most people. One of the most notable names, however, is right at the top of the list as Shake Shack (SHAK) is the most heavily shorted stock in the S&P 1500 with just under half of its float sold short. People may love the burgers, fries, and shakes, but the stock is the most hated on the Street. Other notable names on the most shorted list include RH, Avis (CAR), JC Penney (JCP), Stamps.com (STMP), and Big Lots (BIG).
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