5 Rallying Stocks That Have Piqued Short Interest

by: Sigma Swan

The stocks presented below have all returned more than the S&P 500 over the past month, despite notably high short interest.

Company % of Float
Price Performance
(4 week)
Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) 20% +11%
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) 10% +6.5%
Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) 10% +7.0%
Deckers Outdoor Corp. (NASDAQ:DECK) 12% +18%
United Continental Holdings (NYSE:UAL) 12% +14%

Electric Cars
Tesla is celebrating a recent deal with Toyota (NYSE:TM) to the tune of about $100 million. While CEO Elon Musk just described the company's retail strategy as "going gangbusters," shorts do not appear to agree, and still claim over 10 percent of the float. The stock is down about 4% year-to-date.

Coffee Beans
Green mountain coffee roasters may be attracting shorts just by virtue of sticker shock. The stock is up over 200 percent this year, and the P/E ratio is now in the triple digits. Surging profits and revenue have made this a tough bet for the shorts so far this year, but the stock remains a favorite for the thumbs-down crowd at about 10% of float.

Stuffed Burritos
Chipotle has seen some impressive growth lately, but shorts seem attracted by the rising P/E (over 50) and by what they see as a fad bubble about to burst. A reported same-store-sales increase of 10 percent and optimism surrounding an Asian-themed expansion plan have sustained the stock so far this year, with shares up about 55% year-to-date.

Big Shoes
Deckers' P/E ratio isn't quite in nosebleed territory but, at over 25 times earnings, it's not cheap. Recent outlook optimism by shoe-industry companies including Nike (NYSE:NKE) and Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL) have helped keep Deck in the green this month (up 18%) despite over 12% short interest. The stock is up 25% year-to-date.

Airline Seats
The airline industry is no place to ride out a potential economic downturn. Reflecting that fact, United Airlines is down about 10 percent on the year and has attracted high short interest. But UAL has been rebounding nicely this past month, up almost 20% as oil prices drop and analysts upgrade estimates for most players in the industry.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

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