Short interest figures for the end of September were released last week, and we just recently sent out our regular update of overall and stock specific trends in short interest levels to clients.  In the table below, though, we wanted to provide a quick look at which stocks in the S&P 1500 have the highest levels of short interest (as a percentage of float).  All 25 names shown have at least 30% of their free-floating shares sold short, but amazingly, eight of those stocks have more than half of their float sold short.  The most shorted stock in the S&P 1500 is Applied Optoelectronics (AAOI), which has more than 70% of its float sold short.  It’s not very often that you see a stock with this high a level of short interest, but given the stock is down by a third this month alone, the high short interest looks justified.

Other notable names with high levels of short interest include retail-related names like Dillard’s (DDS), Shake Shack (SHAK), Fred’s (FRED), RH (formerly Restoration Hardware), JC Penney (JCP), and Big Lots (BIG). Outside of SHAK and RH, these retail names are all down MTD.  Overall, the 25 names listed below have seen an average decline of 2.91% (median: 3.19%) this month, compared to a gain of 1.47% for the S&P 1500.  Normally, stocks with high short interest rally during periods when the market is strong, but these days, investors generally want nothing to do with them.

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