Short sellers were figuring that after the bank rally late last month, banks shares were likely to give back some gains. That was working until Wells Fargo (WFC) reported that it would have a good Q1, which probably resulted in a huge short squeeze in bank stocks.
As of the last day in March, shares sold short in Citigroup (C) were up 21% from two weeks earlier to 1.2 billion. Shares short in AIG (AIG) rose 54% to 281 million. The short interest in Wells Fargo was up 8% to 168 million. Shares sold short in JP Morgan (JPM) rose 26% to 70 million. The short interest in US Bancorp (USB) was up 18% to 76 million. Shares short in Fifth Third (FITB) were higher by 22% to 58 million.
In the tech and internet sectors, shorts backed out of most big stocks. Shares short in Orcacle (ORCL) dropped 12% to 49 million. The short interest in Dell (DELL) dropped 3% to 43 million. Shares short in Nvidia (NVDA) were down by 12% to 38 million. The short interest in Broadcom (BRCM) fell 17% to 36 million. Shares short in Symantec (SYMC) were down 12% to 28 million . The short interest in Amazon (AMZN) dropped 13% to 26 million.
Among stocks with large short interests, the positions in Sirius (SIRI) moved up 12% to 181 million. Shares short in Sun (JAVA) fell 41% to 22 million. Shares sold short in Ford (F) fell 4% to 237 million, and the short interest in GE (GE) rose 6% to 211 million shares.
Data from NYSE and NASDAQ
Douglas A. McIntyre