Short Interest in Snap Surges by 25 Million Shares

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Much of Wall Street remains skeptical, or even pessimistic, about the fortunes of social media company Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP). Short interest in its shares rose by 25 million to 94 million in total for the period that ended August 31. The figure is an extremely high 19% of Snap’s float. No other stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange posted a larger increase in its raw number.

Investors have a long list of reasons to bet against the company. Its shares trade at $15, against a post-IPO range of $29.44 to $11.28. Snap has had troubling convincing shareholders and potential shareholders that it is anything more than a new version of Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR), a Web 2.0 company that should never have gone public but did for the benefit of venture capital investors, the founders and senior executives.

Snap has made a miniature comeback in the past month, with its shares up by 20% over the period. Short sellers must believe the rally will be short lived. And one investment bank recently warned it was a sucker rally. Deutsche Bank analyst Lloyd Walmsley downgraded the stock from Buy to Hold, which really means “sell” in Wall Street language. He wrote:

After broad conversations across the ad ecosystem over the last month, feedback was decidedly mixed. Facebook’s efforts to copy Snap’s product (on a best-in-class ad platform) has also somewhat obviated the imperative some had around Snap a year ago; many feel they can get the key younger audience via Instagram.

It is a complex way of saying the social media world is too crowded, people will not use several social media platforms at once and Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) continues to and will always dominate the market.

Nothing new or particularly positive has happened at Snap recently. Many investors believe it is still a dog, and the weight of evidence is in their favor.