Short Sellers Exit Citi, Feed On Ford

April 27, 2010 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Short-sellers walked away from Citigroup (NYSE: C),dropping their position by 20% in the period that ended May 15.  They could not have anticipated that the Treasury would sell a huge amount of its holding in the bank, pushing Citi’s share price down. Share sold short in Citi fell to 41.5.5 million, still making it the largest short position on the NYSE.

During the same period, short sellers upped their position in Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) by 42% to 258.5 million. It may be that the concerns about Ford’s debt position are causing experts to believe that its share price will fall

Telecom stocks were hit hard by short sellers, and that was a winning bet. The short position in Nokia (NYSEL NOK) rose 18% to 90.5 million. Low margins drove the stock down 13% the day it announced earnings. The short interest n Verizon (NYSE: VZ) moved up 15% to 55.8 million. The large telecom posted a disappointing rise in its cellular customer base. The short interest in Qwest (NYSE: Q) was up by 4% to 127.4 ahead of its merger plans with CenturyTel were announced.

In general, short sellers moved against financial shares. The short interest in Bank of American (NYSE: BAC), Regions Financial (NYSE: RF),  and Ambac (NYSE: ABK) all rose. Short sellers also moves into retailers. The short interest in Walmart (NYSE: WMT) was up 12% to 24.6 million. Shares short in Lowe’s also rose sharply.

Short sellers were mixed on tech raising their position in Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) by 13% to 59 million and upping their positions in Micron (NADAQ: MU) and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT). Shares pulled out of Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), and RF Micro (NASDAQ: RFMD)

Source: NYSE and NASDAQ.

Douglas A. McIntyre

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