Short sellers sharply increased their gamble that financial stocks would fall based on short selling data from NYSE and Nasdaq on the last day of November.
Shorts pushed into Citigroup (NYSE:C), increasing their positions by 11% to 216 million shares making the bank stock the most shorted among all US companies. Bets against Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) rose 13% to 75.5 million shares and 2% against Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) to 77.2 million.
Short selling made very large gambles against the big companies in the retail sector probably based on the belief that holiday sales will be weak. Shares short in Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) rose 37% to 28.2 million. The short interest in Macy’s (NYSE:M) was up 13% to 40 million shares. Shares short in Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) rose 15% to 17.1 million The short interest in Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) was higher by 20% to 21.7 million, and shares sold short in Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) were up 15% to 21.8 million. However, shares short in e-commerce leader Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) dropped by 13% to 17.1 million.
Short sellers appear to think that the results for airlines and hotels will be good in the near term. Shares sold short in Southwest (NYSE:LUV) fell 9% to 26.1 million. The short interest in Marriott (NYSE:MAR) was down 7% to 33.2 million. Shares short in Delta (NYSE:DAL) fell 15% to 24 million.
Among big tech stocks, shares sold short in Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) rose 35% to 37.9 million. Most other changes in hardware and software stocks were modest. Share short in Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) fell 18% to 64 million. The short interest in Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) fell 4% to 52.6 million. Shares sold short in Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) rose 2% to 42.4 million. The short interest in Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) rose 3% to 34.3 million. The short interest in Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) was down 1% to 21.7 million. Shares short in RIM (NASDAQ:RIMM) rose 1% to 22.3 million.
The short interest in Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) fell 14% to 21.6 million ahead of the EU decision on the company’s buy-out of Sun (NASDAQ:JAVA). The market reacted well to the restructuring of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) as its short interest was up only 2% to 21 million shares. Investors are betting that Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) will have a rough fourth quarter sending shares short up 19% to 56.5 million.
Among tech giants, shares short in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) dropped 14% to 13.5 million ahead of the holiday sales period. Shares short in Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) fell 11% to 3.8 million.
Douglas A. McIntyre