Short Sellers Hope Silicon Valley Gets Mauled

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Short sellers are making large bets that tech shares have reached their high point and are likely to sell off based on data from the NASDAQ and NYSE as of April 30.

Shares short in Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ” MSFT) were up 30% to 70.3 million. The short interest in Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) moved up 17% to 34.2 million. The short interest in Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK), former home of Carol Bartz, rose 25%, and shares sold short at her current company Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) were up 5% to 39.2 million. Shares short in Research-in-Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) were up 11% to 16 million. Shares sold short in Inc. were up 11% to 12 million. Shares short in Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Ciena (NASDAQ: CIEN) also rose.

Shares short in consumer-facing companies dropped. The short interest in Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) dropped 16% to 46.8 million. Shares sold short in Starwood were down 27% to 15.3 million. The short interest in Macy’s (NYSE: M) 21% to 20.1 million. Shares short in Gannett (NYSE: GCI) were down 17% to 25.6 million The short interest in Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) was down 30% to 15.7 million. Shares short in Sara Lee (NYSE: SLE) fell 22% to 26.1 million. The only really large consumer products company that had a large increase in shares sold short was Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) — up 11% to 286.5 million.

The largest short interest in any public company was Citigroup’s (NYSE: C), at 482 million, up 16%.

Douglas A. McIntyre