The Short Report

Weekly Reports | Feb 22 2018


The Short Report draws upon data provided by the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC) to highlight significant weekly moves in short positions registered on stocks listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Short positions in exchange-traded funds (ETF) and non-ordinary shares are not included. Short positions below 5% are not included in the table below but may be noted in the accompanying text if deemed significant.

Please take note of the Important Information provided at the end of this report. Percentage amounts in this report refer to percentage of ordinary shares on issue.

Stock codes highlighted in green have seen their short positions reduce in the week by an amount sufficient to move them into a lower percentage bracket. Stocks highlighted in red have seen their short positions increase in the week by an amount sufficient to move them into a higher percentage bracket. Moves in excess of one percentage point or more are discussed in the Movers & Shakers report below.


Week ending February 15, 2018

Last week saw the ASX200 take another tumble but hold the 5800 mark until Wall Street rebounded, thus prompting a push back toward 5900. The local results season stepped up a gear last week, just to add to the volatility at the micro level.

A glance at the table below would suggest the shorters were very active last week amidst the macro volatility and a slew of earnings reports but most changes in short position were relatively small.

The most notable change was for JB Hi-Fi ((JBH)), which saw its shorts rise to 15.4% from 13.6% following a rare results miss.

Otherwise the larger moves were confined to the lithium miners, which offer their own brand of volatility. Galaxy Resources ((GXY)) shorts rose to 12.2% from 10.1%, Pilbara Minerals ((PLS)) rose to 8.6% from 7.8%, and Orocobre ((ORE)) saw a fall to 6.9% from 8.1%.

Just a lot of shuffle.

Shorts in News Corp ((NWS)) ordinary share shorts fell to 7.5% from 9.9%, but we see a corresponding appearance of News Corp non-voting shares (NWSLV, not tabled below) at 5.1% shorted, which suggests some sort of arbitrage play.

We also welcomed a new debutant onto the table last week, at 5.0% shorted, being the high-flying Afterpay Touch Group ((APT)).

Beyond that, I noted in last week’s Report that 13 of the ASX Top 20 stocks had experienced short position increases as the market plunged, suggesting to me a pick-up in investor demand for put option protection which market makers have to cover by shorting stock.

We ultimately saw a market rebound last week but we can see in the Top 20 table below that 14 of the 20 still saw short position increases, if only minor in the scheme of things.

No Movers & Shakers to highlight this week.

Weekly short positions as a percentage of market cap:


SYR    21.0
IGO     17.2
DMP   16.2
JBH     15.4
HSO    14.3
RFG    13.6
GXY   12.2
HT1     11.5
FLT     10.9
VOC   10.9
MYX   10.6

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