Short Sellers Make Huge Bets Against Financials, Flee Tech

May 22, 2008 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Short sellers are making significant bets that most financial stocks traded on the NYSE will fall sharply. Data is as of May 15 and compares to information on April 30.

Short interest in Countrywide (CFC) rose 26 million shares to 102.4 million Share sold short in National City rose 39.6 million to 138.8 milion. Shares short in Fannie Mae (FNM) rose 17.9 to 104.3 million. Short interest in Washington Mutual (WM) moved up 8.4 million to 192.7 million. Shares short in Freddie Mac (FRE) rose 10 million to 63.2 million. Short interest in Ambac (ABK) moved up 10.1 million to 58.2 million.

Among large cap stocks, the short interest was also up in CBS (CBS) rising by 6.7 million to 37.2 million. Short interest in Motorola (MOT) was up 8.8 million to 48.8 million.

The once sector in which short sellers made a major exit was tech and telecom. Share short in Sprint (S) fell 13.6 million to 83.7 million. Short interest in Texas Intruments (TXN) fell 12.2 million to 35.2 million. Short interest in Micron (MU) dropped 6.4 million to 76.9 million. Shares short in HP (HPQ) fell 4.3 million to 23.2 million. And short interest in AMD (AMD) dropped 1.1 million shares to 98 million.

Data from NYSE

Douglas A. McIntyre