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The Short Report – 10 Jun 2021

Weekly Reports | Jun 10 2021

This story features KOGAN.COM LIMITED, and other companies. For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: KGN

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

Summary:

By Greg Peel

Week Ending June 3, 2021.

After bottoming out on May 19, the ASX200 has since pushed ever upward, pausing only for some end of month profit-taking. This week has seen consolidation around the 7300 level.

Yet again, short position movements were limited last week, with an ongoing rally clearly keeping shorters at bay. But a rally for the index does not of course mean every stock is rallying accordingly.

The shorters are maintaining their bets on top-of-the table names, Kogan ((KGN)) and Temple & Webster ((TPW)), and Webjet ((WEB)) and Flight Centre ((FLT)), for covid-related reasons. For Resolute Mining ((RSG)), production issues and sovereign risk have impacted.

The big recent mover up the table has nonetheless been Electro Optic Systems ((EOS)), which last week moved up another bracket, to 9.4% shorted from 8.3%. See below.

Otherwise we note previously top-of-the-table names Tassal Group ((TGR)) and Inghams Group ((ING)) have been trending down. Inghams share price surged late last week and into this week following a positive market update, but since has slipped back again.

Weekly short positions as a percentage of market cap:

10%+

KGN   11.7
WEB   10.5
RSG    10.3

No changes

9.0-9.9

EOS, TPW, FLT

In: EOS           Out: TGR
           
8.0-8.9%

EOS, MP1, ING

In: TGR           Out: EOS, MP1, ING

7.0-7.9%

ING, MP1, Z1P, IVC, MTS, JBH

In: ING, MP1, IVC

6.0-6.9%

MSB, BVS, A2M

Out: IVC, ALK

5.0-5.9%

ALK, BGL, OBL, PNV, AVH, EML

In: ALK, AVH, EML                  

Movers & Shakers

Electro Optic Systems engages in the development, manufacture, and sale of telescopes and dome enclosures, laser satellite tracking systems, microwave communications, and electro-optic fire control systems for the defence, space, and communication industries.

The company has suffered this year from covid-related freight bottlenecks that have in turn impacted on cash receipts from one of its major customers.

In early May, Citi – the one FNArena database broker covering the stock – downgraded to Hold from Buy given receipt uncertainty. In mid-May, the company reported a significant lump of cash arriving, but not yet all that was owed. The market saw this as negative rather than positive, and the share price took a beating.

The share price has nonetheless since recovered, and last week Citi upgraded back to Buy. But clearly the shorters see a target in their sights, with shorts last week rising to 9.4% from 8.3%.

ASX20 Short Positions (%)

Code Last Week Week Before Code Last Week Week Before
ALL 0.1 0.3 MQG 0.2 0.2
ANZ 0.9 0.9 NAB 0.9 1.0
APT 1.8 1.8 NCM 0.1 0.2
BHP 4.1 4.1 RIO 0.2 0.3
BXB 0.4 0.4 TCL 0.6 0.7
CBA 0.5 0.5 TLS 0.2 0.2
COL 0.6 0.6 WBC 0.8 0.9
CSL 0.2 0.3 WES 0.2 0.3
FMG 0.5 0.4 WOW 0.2 0.4
GMG 0.2 0.3 WPL 1.0 1.1

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.

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CHARTS

EOS FLT ING KGN RSG TGR TPW WEB

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: EOS - ELECTRO OPTIC SYSTEMS HOLDINGS LIMITED

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

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: ING - INGHAMS GROUP LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: KGN - KOGAN.COM LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: RSG - RESOLUTE MINING 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