Short Sellers Savage Banks

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Short sellers appear ready to follow bank stocks all the way down to zero, at least based on data for the period that ended September 15.

Shares short in Citigroup (NYSE: C) rose 3% to 65.2 million. Short interest in Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) was up 23% to 75.7 million. Shares short in Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) rose by 5% to 222 million. General Electric (NYSE: GE), which in the opinion of many analysts has a large division not much different from a bank, saw an increase in shares sold short of 13% to 141.4 million. Even the shares short in widely regarded financial firm JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) were up by 7% to 56.4 million.

The short interest in General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Ford (NYSE: F) remained high as their sales have slowed and their negotiations with the UAW have picked up. Short interest in GM rose 13% to 51.6 million. Shares short in Ford were higher by 5% to 157.1 million.

Short sellers also kept large positions in tech stocks, although in some cases these did not rise. Shares sold short in Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) were down 8% to 141.8 million. Short interest in Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) was up 15% to 102.8 million. Shares short in Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) rose 23% to 51.6 million. The short interest in Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) was up only 3% to 96.5 million.

Data comes from Nasdaq and NYSE.

Douglas A. McIntyre