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 in the United States 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.
The January 31 short interest data have been compared with the previous figures, and short interest in most of these selected bank stocks decreased.
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) saw its short interest drop to 132.07 million shares. The previous level was 145.10 million. Shares were last seen trading at $30.85, in a 52-week range of $22.07 to $32.67.
The number of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) shares short grew to 31.23 million from the previous level of 28.79 million. Shares recently traded at $111.95, in a 52-week range of $81.64 to $117.35.
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) short interest increased slightly to 27.66 million from the previous level of 27.35 million. Shares were trading at $75.05, in a 52-week range of $56.55 to $80.70.
Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) short interest decreased to 35.71 million shares from the previous reading of 36.20 million. Shares were trading at $56.55, within a 52-week range of $49.27 to $66.31.
Short interest in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) decreased to 5.25 million shares from the previous 5.44 million. The stock recently traded at $252.95, within a 52-week range of $209.62 to $273.79.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) short interest for this settlement date decreased to 11.84 million shares from the previous 12.55 million. Shares were changing hands at $53.15, in a 52-week range of $40.06 to $58.05.