Short Sellers Take a Big Step Back From Major Banks

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The financial sector was a major part of the Great Recession, and it has been a major part of the recovery and raging bull market since then. Generally speaking, the major financial institutions within this country are a good barometer of the current state of U.S. markets.

So when short sellers make a play against these major banks, they are effectively betting for a downturn. Conversely, when they back off they might be expecting a surge. Granted, some plays are directly against individual companies, like we saw with Wells Fargo early in 2017.

With earnings season just around the corner, this short interest report could shed some light on how investors are positioning themselves in anticipation of earnings.

The December 29 short interest data have been compared with the previous figures, and short interest in these selected bank stocks decreased.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) saw its short interest drop to 140.15 million shares. The previous level was 151.13 million. Shares were last seen trading at $30.55, in a 52-week range of $22.01 to $30.73.

The number of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) shares short decreased to 27.57 million from the previous level of 29.00 million. Shares recently traded at $110.25, in a 52-week range of $81.64 to $110.70.

Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) short interest fell to 27.65 million from the previous level of 33.22 million. Shares were trading at $75.65, in a 52-week range of $55.23 to $77.92.

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) short interest decreased to 33.99 million shares from the previous reading of 42.62 million. Shares were trading at $63.12, within a 52-week range of $49.27 to $63.40.

Short interest in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) shrank to 4.93 million shares from the previous 6.67 million. The stock recently traded at $254.33, within a 52-week range of $209.62 to $262.14.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) short interest for this settlement date decreased to 11.08 million shares from the previous 15.39 million. Shares were changing hands at $53.93, in a 52-week range of $40.06 to $54.48.