Short Sellers Attack America’s Largest Companies (GE)(PFE)(T)(HAL)(XOM)(INTC)(MSFT)(CSCO)(IBM)

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For the latest reported period, ending December 31, short sellers did not make any notable moves in or out of tech, financials, or industrial shares. What they did do was take impressively large positions in many of the largest cap companies in the world.

It was as if a part of the market was making a negative bet across the entire economy.

The short interest in GE (GE) went up 46% to 155 million shares. Shares short in Pfizer (PFE) rose 29% to 76 million shares. The short interest in Halliburton (HAL) moved up 33% to 37.4 million shares. Shares short in AT&T (T) were up 20% to 49.8 million shares. Short interest in IBM (IBM) was up 17% to 17.4 million. Shares short in Exxon Mobil (XOM) rose 14% to 49.8 million.

The short interests in Intel (INTC), Microsoft (MSFT), and Cisco (CSCO) also all rose.

In the financial sector, short sellers slightly increased their positions in most of the big banks. Shares short in CItigroup (C) rose 5% to 149.1 million. The short interest in Wells Fargo (WFC) rose 9% to 144.5%. Shares short in Bank of America (BAC) moved up 8% to 114.3 million.

Short sellers continued to bet against the car companies. Shares short in GM (GM) rose 18% to 107.9% and the short interest in Ford (F) was up 13% to 269.5 million.

Some of the most heavily beaten down Nasdaq stocks got a break Shares short in Amazon (AMZN) dropped 11% to 32.3 million. The short interest in Yahoo! (YHOO) dropped 12% to 36 million. Shares short in Level 3 (LVLT) dropped 5% to 190.8 million. The short interest in Comcast (CMCSA) fell 24% to 59.3 million and shares short in Sirius XM (SIRI) dropped 19% to 214.7 million.

Data from Nasdaq and The New York Stock Exchange.

Douglas A. McIntyre