article 3 months old

The Short Report – 01 Apr 2021

Weekly Reports | Apr 01 2021

This story features WEBJET LIMITED, and other companies. For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: WEB

See Guide further below (for readers with full access).

Summary:

Week ending March 25, 2021.

The ongoing zig-zag of the ASX200 continued into last week –this time a rally– and again into this week. Net result, not much.

While the number of stocks with short positions of 5% or more remained unchanged last week, as the table below suggests there was actually quite a lot of position reduction going on.

All up there was a total of no less than seven short position movements of one percentage point or more.

Webjet ((WEB)) shorts jumped to 12.0% from 10.8% — a no-brainer with Brisbane going back into lockdown. Flight Centre ((FLT)) shorts rose to 8.7% from 7.9%.

I noted last week that Tassal Group ((TGR)) shorts had moved from 13.0% to 11.5% and back to 13.0% over three weeks, and perhaps this represented a blip in ASIC data. Last week they were back to 10.1%.

The stock did rally last week nonetheless on “inside” trading. “Inside” trading should not be confused with “insider” trading. The former reflects company executives buying/selling their own stock which is perfectly legal as long as sufficient disclosures are made, and there are no subsequent share price-moving announcements made (drawing an ASIC investigation).

The latter reflects buying/selling by parties either inside the company or out privy to share price-moving information which the company has not yet made public. This can result in gaol time.

Then we have Bravura Solutions ((BVS)), the shorts of which have moved from 6.6% to 7.7% and last week down to 5.2% over a period in which the share price did not much. It has since dropped fairly sharply. Draw your own conclusions.

Covid-beneficiary Temple & Webster ((TPW)) spent all month rallying before tipping over last week. It’s back at 6.0% shorted from below 5%.

Avita Medical ((AVH)), Myer ((MYR)) and Freedom Foods ((FNP)) all dropped out of the 6% range to below 5% last week.

Avita has been trending down all month while Myer has rallied post earnings result. So likely profit-taking in one and short-covering in the other.

Freedom Foods went into a trading halt last June at $3.00 and came back on last week at 48c. A great opportunity to close out longstanding shorts and head off to lunch.

No Movers & Shakers this week.

Weekly short positions as a percentage of market cap:

10%+
WEB   12.0
TGR    10.1

No changes

9.0-9.9

No stocks, no changes
           
8.0-8.9%

FLT, ING

In: FLT, ING           

7.0-7.9%

RSG, MTS

Out: FLT, ING, BVS

6.0-6.9%

IVC, JBH, TPW, A2M SSM

In: JBH, TPW             Out: SSM, FNP, AVH, MYR, BEN             

5.0-5.9%

ALK, JBH, PNV, EOS, MP1, BGL, MSB, BEN, BVS, SSM

In: BVS, BEN, SSM, BGL                Out: JBH

Movers & Shakers

See above.

ASX20 Short Positions (%)

Code Last Week Week Before Code Last Week Week Before
ALL 0.1 0.2 MQG 0.6 0.7
ANZ 1.1 1.1 NAB 1.2 1.2
APT 2.1 1.4 NCM 0.4 0.4
BHP 3.8 3.7 RIO 0.3 0.3
BXB 0.2 0.2 TCL 0.6 0.7
CBA 0.6 0.7 TLS 0.3 0.3
COL 0.2 0.2 WBC 0.9 0.9
CSL 0.2 0.2 WES 0.5 0.5
FMG 0.6 0.6 WOW 0.2 0.3
GMG 0.2 0.2 WPL 0.7 0.8

To see the full Short Report, please go to this link

Guide:

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.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THIS REPORT

The above information is sourced from daily reports published by the Australian Investment & Securities Commission (ASIC) and is provided by FNArena unqualified as a service to subscribers. FNArena would like to make it very clear that immediate assumptions cannot be drawn from the numbers alone.

It is wrong to assume that short percentages published by ASIC simply imply negative market positions held by fund managers or others looking to profit from a fall in respective share prices. While all or part of certain short percentages may indeed imply such, there are also a myriad of other reasons why a short position might be held which does not render that position “naked” given offsetting positions held elsewhere. Whatever balance of percentages truly is a “short” position would suggest there are negative views on a stock held by some in the market and also would suggest that were the news flow on that stock to turn suddenly positive, “short covering” may spark a short, sharp rally in that share price. However short positions held as an offset against another position may prove merely benign.

Often large short positions can be attributable to a listed hybrid security on the same stock where traders look to “strip out” the option value of the hybrid with offsetting listed option and stock positions. Short positions may form part of a short stock portfolio offsetting a long share price index (SPI) futures portfolio – a popular trade which seeks to exploit windows of opportunity when the SPI price trades at an overextended discount to fair value. Short positions may be held as a hedge by a broking house providing dividend reinvestment plan (DRP) underwriting services or other similar services. Short positions will occasionally need to be adopted by market makers in listed equity exchange traded fund products (EFT). All of the above are just some of the reasons why a short position may be held in a stock but can be considered benign in share price direction terms due to offsets.

Market makers in stock and stock index options will also hedge their portfolios using short positions where necessary. These delta hedges often form the other side of a client's long stock-long put option protection trade, or perhaps long stock-short call option (“buy-write”) position. In a clear example of how published short percentages can be misleading, an options market maker may hold a short position below the implied delta hedge level and that actually implies a “long” position in that stock.

Another popular trading strategy is that of “pairs trading” in which one stock is held short against a long position in another stock. Such positions look to exploit perceived imbalances in the valuations of two stocks and imply a “net neutral” market position.

Aside from all the above reasons as to why it would be a potential misconception to draw simply conclusions on short percentages, there are even wider issues to consider. ASIC itself will admit that short position data is not an exact science given the onus on market participants to declare to their broker when positions truly are “short”. Without any suggestion of deceit, there are always participants who are ignorant of the regulations. Discrepancies can also arise when short positions are held by a large investment banking operation offering multiple stock market services as well as proprietary trading activities. Such activity can introduce the possibility of either non-counting or double-counting when custodians are involved and beneficial ownership issues become unclear.

Finally, a simple fact is that the Australian Securities Exchange also keeps its own register of short positions. The figures provided by ASIC and by the ASX at any point do not necessarily correlate.

FNArena has offered this qualified explanation of the vagaries of short stock positions as a warning to subscribers not to jump to any conclusions or to make investment decisions based solely on these unqualified numbers. FNArena strongly suggests investors seek advice from their stock broker or financial adviser before acting upon any of the information provided herein.

Find out why FNArena subscribers like the service so much: "Your Feedback (Thank You)" – Warning this story contains unashamedly positive feedback on the service provided.

FNArena is proud about its track record and past achievements: Ten Years On

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Click to view our Glossary of Financial Terms

CHARTS

AVH BVS FLT FNP MYR TGR TPW WEB

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: AVH - AVITA MEDICAL INC

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: BVS - BRAVURA SOLUTIONS LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: FLT - FLIGHT CENTRE TRAVEL GROUP LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: FNP - FREEDOM FOODS GROUP LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: MYR - MYER HOLDINGS LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: TGR - TASSAL GROUP LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: TPW - TEMPLE & WEBSTER GROUP LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: WEB - WEBJET LIMITED