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The Short Report – 17 Feb 2022

Weekly Reports | Feb 17 2022

This story features KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD LIMITED, and other companies. For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: KLA

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

Summary:

By Greg Peel

Week Ending February 10, 2022.

The rebound from Fed-scare depths continued for the ASX200 last week, ahead of a further Fed scare and big trouble in little Eastern Europe.

Wouldn’t you know – the week I decide not to include Kirkland Lake Gold ((KLA)) in the table any longer, it disappears from 9.1%. It will no doubt be back at some stage, but we’ll ignore it.

I also suggested last week that since shorts in BetMakers Technology ((BET)) had fallen from 7.1% to out of the table and back to 7.8%, it was probably an ASIC data blip. Last week BetMakers shorts rose to 11.4%. No idea why, other than a disclosure of non-listed employee shares, the stock fell -18% this week. It is not covered by FNArena database brokers, and didn’t report earnings.

Nor did Nanosomics ((NAN)), but the company did report last week it has revised its sales model with General Electric resulting in FY22 earnings downgrades and less certainty around FY23 earnings growth. That was worth a -13% plunge in share price and an increase in shorts to 9.5% from 7.0%.

It then rallied right back this week.

Appen’s ((APX)) share price fell -16% last week, after its biggest customer – Meta (Facebook) – lost a third of its value following its earnings result. But shorters went the other way in this case, taking profits, as Appen shorts fell to 6.0% from 7.4%

Lastly, last week I noted Paladin Energy ((PDN)) and Block ((SQ2)), formerly Square, formerly Afterpay, had appeared at the bottom of the table. Well they’ve gone again. a2 Milk ((A2M)) has nevertheless popped back in.

Weekly short positions as a percentage of market cap:

10%+
FLT     15.6
BET     11.4
Z1P     10.6
WEB   10.4
KGN   10.3

In: BET, WEB                       

9.0-9.9

MSB, NAN

In: NAN          Out: WEB      
           
8.0-8.9%

PNV

No changes

7.0-7.9%

MFG, OBL, RBL, AMA, TPW

Out: BET, NAN, RRL, APX

6.0-6.9%

RRL TYR, EOS, ING, APX

In: RRL, APX           

5.0-5.9%

MTS, NHC, MND, CUV, PBH, EML, A2M

In: A2M                      Out: SQ2, PDN, IVC

Movers & Shakers

All covered above.

ASX20 Short Positions (%)

Code Last Week Week Before Code Last Week Week Before
ALL 0.0 0.1 NAB 0.6 0.6
ANZ 0.7 0.6 NCM 0.6 0.6
BHP 0.9 3.0 RIO 0.7 0.5
BXB 0.4 0.4 TCL 0.5 0.3
CBA 0.6 0.5 TLS 0.3 0.2
COL 0.5 0.5 WBC 1.1 1.1
CSL 0.1 0.1 WES 0.2 0.2
FMG 1.7 1.8 WOW 0.3 0.2
GMG 0.3 0.2 WPL 1.7 1.5
MQG 0.3 0.2 0.0 0.0

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

A2M APX BET KLA NAN PDN SQ2

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: A2M - A2 MILK COMPANY LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: APX - APPEN LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: BET - BETMAKERS TECHNOLOGY GROUP LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: KLA - KIRKLAND LAKE GOLD LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: NAN - NANOSONICS LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: PDN - PALADIN ENERGY LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: SQ2 - BLOCK INC