S&P 1500 Most Heavily Shorted Stocks

by: Bespoke Investment Group

Short interest figures for the NYSE and Nasdaq as of the end of November were released after the close yesterday, and with that we have updated our list of the most heavily shorted stocks in the S&P 1500. The list below highlights the 29 stocks in the S&P 1500 that have more than 25% of their free-floating shares sold short. As is often the case, the list is dominated by small-cap stocks. In fact, of the 29 names listed 21 (72%) are small-cap stocks including the 10 most heavily shorted stocks on the list. Of the remaining eight names, seven are mid caps and Cliffs Natural (NYSE:CLF) is the only large cap stock. Although with a market cap of under $4 billion CLF would not even meet the market cap criteria to be added to the S&P 500 today.

A typical theme of this list each month is that many of the names are consumer and/or stocks with a trendy product. True to form, more than a third of the names on this month's list (10) are from the Consumer Discretionary sector. Some of the more notable names include, Green Mountain Coffee (NASDAQ:GMCR), Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK), Outerwall (NASDAQ:OUTR), Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO), JC Penney (NYSE:JCP) and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS).

In prior posts, we have noted that short-sellers have been crushed this year as many of the best performing stocks have also been some of the most heavily shorted stocks. So far in December, however, short-sellers have been getting a bit of a respite. Of the 29 names listed, only eight are up so far this month. All in all, these 29 stocks have averaged a decline of over 4% this month compared to a loss of just 0.62% for the S&P 1500. It looks as though Christmas has come early for the short-sellers this year.