These are the 10 NYSE companies with the most shares sold short as of June 15.
Share in deeply troubled Brazil metal giant Vale SA (NYSE: VALE) dropped 6.8% to 180,527,026.
Shares sold short in Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) were down 1.9% to 175,070,460. Its fortunes improved lately due to a shake-up at parent company Softbank which means the No.4 U.S. wireless services firm may get more support.
Short interest in Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) rose 1.7% to 149,571,674. Concerns have grown that the healthy U.S. car market may slow and the No.2 American car company will be battered by the drop.
Shares short in metals company Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) rose 2.2% to 130,038,272.
The short interest in U.S. aluminum giant Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) fell 1.4% to 124,615,439.
Shares short in General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) rose 4.8% to 111,581,275. The world’s largest conglomerate has tried to shed as much of its financial services operations as possible, and reinvent itself again and again.
Shares short in Petroleo Brasileiro, aka Petrobras, (NYSE: PBR), the Brazil oil giant rose 1.7% to 110,317,676. It has been charged with management corruption, inefficient operations, and a growing bribery scandal in the national government.
Shares short in energy company Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) were flat at 96,238,854.
Shares short in China e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) rose 22.1% to 94,859,433. It has been accused of selling counterfeit goods.
The short interest in oil services company Transocean (NYSE: RIG) rose 3.8% to 89,993,636. It has been dogged by poor earnings and layoffs due to the collapse in oil prices
Other notable short interest positions:
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) the foundering retailer had its shares sold short drop 1.7% to 88,390,891.
Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) had a 2% increase in its short interest to 77,787,377.
The Wall Street Journal’s explanation: “Short” shares are borrowed and then sold in the hope that the share price will fall before the borrowed shares have to be purchased and replaced. A high level of short interest could indicate that a share price is ready to fall, but can also be a hedge, or counterbet, for an investor who has gone “long,” or bought a lot shares of a company thinking that the share price will rise.