The Short Report – 5 Sep 2019

Weekly Reports | Sep 05 2019


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 August 29, 2019

Last week saw the ASX200 recovering ground along with Wall Street before a last day of August flurry.

This from last week's Report:

"Wow. Get a load of the sea of green below. One would be forgiven for thinking there was an earnings season on.

"Indeed, last week was the biggest by stock count in the earnings season, so that may explain the aforementioned sea, but we also had the macro overlay of extreme global market volatility, which in itself may explain short-covering. Or a combination of both. I just sincerely hope the ASIC data is accurate, and we don't see everything go back the other way next week (wouldn't be the first time), or my assessment would make me look a fool (again)."

I stand before you a fool.

Ignore all the red below as 99% of the moves are a reversal of the sea of green last week that had me suspicious, and unfortunately not suspicious enough. Better to simply focus on the nominal levels of shorts, which are little changed from two weeks ago.

As for how earnings season impacted on short positions we'll never know, because the ASIC data have proven to be a sham. It may not be ASIC's fault, given short-position declarations are an honour system, not a computerised process.

Weekly short positions as a percentage of market cap:

NUF    18.7
ING     17.3
GXY   16.7
ORE    16.3
BAL    15.9
SYR    14.7
NXT    14.0
JBH     13.8
HUB   11.7
BWX   11.5
GWA  10.7
PLS     10.7
BGA   10.6
DMP   10.3

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