Short interest figures for the middle of October were released last week. The table below lists the 25 stocks in the S&P 500 that have the highest short interest as a percentage of float. Topping the list this month is a who's who of some of the most controversial stocks in the market. First Solar (FSLR), which has 47% of its free-float sold short, remains the most heavily shorted stock. FSLR was supposed to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Obama's first term, but it actually turned out to be one of the worst performing S&P 500 stocks during that period. Based on current levels of short interest, investors are not expecting much of an improvement during Obama's second term.
JC Penney (JCP) has 40% of its float sold short, and investors who have been short the stock have been making a mint in recent weeks as the company continues to post ugly results. While Ron Johnson was supposed to be the company's savior, many believe that Johnson may already be overstaying his welcome. Outside of FSLR and JCP, only six other stocks (GME, SWY, NFLX, PBI, RRD, and X) in the S&P 500 have more than 25% of their float sold short.