The Short Report – 30 Jun 2022

Weekly Reports | Jun 30 2022

This story features BLOCK INC, and other companies. For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: SQ2

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

Summary:

By Greg Peel

Week Ending June 23, 2022.

Last week the ASX200 found a near-term bottom following the fall sparked by the RBA rate hike the week before.

That was the signal, it would appear, for shorters to jump in and take some profits. Apart from the level of green compared to red in the table below, there were some substantial cuts to positions among some of the market’s most volatile stocks.

Block ((SQ2)) shorts fell to 9.9% from 11.0%. Polynovo ((PNV)) fell to 8.7% from 10.6%.

Inghams Group ((ING)) fell to 7.9% from 9.1% and Appen ((APX)) to 6.4% from 9.3%.

Tyro Payments ((TYR)) dropped out of the table, just before the share price seriously tanked as the CEO decided to jump ship.

While PointsBet Holdings ((PBH)) ticked up slightly, the other four stocks to see short position increases were all miners – two gold and two lithium.

Bellevue Gold ((BGL)) nudged up to 6.0% from 5.6%, while St Barbara ((SBM)) appeared from below 5% at 5.6%.

Lake Resources’ share price fell -60% from June 16 to June 23 before rebounding 19% on June 24 after reassuring the market that ambitions for its Argentinian lithium brine projects remain the same following its pivot towards the North American market.

Lake Resources' former CEO and managing director, Steve Promnitz timed the stock's inclusion in the ASX200 to resign and dump all his shares on the same day. He won't be welcomed anytime soon, at Lake Resources or elsewhere, one presumes.

Lake debuted in the table last week at 7.2% shorted, noting our week closed on June 23.

Core Lithium ((CXO)) fell -30% over the same time period, before bouncing 13% last Monday. In this case there was no new news.

Lithium miners have arguably been treated like tech stocks all year, in that their stock prices have flown around wildly on every little shift in sentiment, no matter how temporary. Uranium miners have suffered similarly, and we note Paladin Energy ((PDN)) sits at 7.0% shorted.

Lithium miners used to sit way atop the shorted table a few years ago, clocking positions of over 20%. As of last week, Lake Resources and Core Lithium are the only current representatives.

Weekly short positions as a percentage of market cap:

10%+
FLT     16.9
BET     12.0
NAN   11.8

Out: SQ2, PNV                     

9.0-9.9

SQ2, EML, RRL

In: SQ2           Out: APX, ING
           
8.0-8.9%

PNV, WEB, PBH, MSB

In: PBH           Out: KGN

7.0-7.9%

ING, KGN, OBL, Z1P, LKE, PDN

In: ING, KGN, LKE              Out: PBH, AMA, MP1

6.0-6.9%

CXO, AMA, CUV, IEL, NEA, APX, MP1, BGL, VUL, IMU

In: APX, AMA, MP1, CXO, BGL                Out: MFG, TPW, TYR

5.0-5.9%

NHC, TPW, PNI, MFG, SBM, CCX, BGL, FFX, BOQ, ANN, HUM, PME

In: TPW, MFG, SBM             Out: BGL

Movers & Shakers

All covered above.

ASX20 Short Positions (%)

Code Last Week Week Before Code Last Week Week Before
ALL 0.2 0.3 NAB 0.4 0.7
ANZ 0.5 0.6 NCM 0.6 0.8
BHP 0.3 0.2 RIO 0.5 0.6
CBA 0.5 0.6 STO 0.2 0.2
COL 0.5 0.5 TCL 0.8 0.9
CSL 0.2 0.2 TLS 0.2 0.2
FMG 1.1 1.4 WBC 1.2 1.5
GMG 0.9 0.5 WDS 1.6 3.8
JHX 0.2 0.4 WES 0.4 0.5
MQG 0.6 0.4 WOW 0.4 0.3

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

APX BGL CXO ING PBH PDN PNV SBM SQ2 TYR

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: APX - APPEN LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: BGL - BELLEVUE GOLD LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: CXO - CORE LITHIUM LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: ING - INGHAMS GROUP LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: PBH - POINTSBET HOLDINGS LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: PDN - PALADIN ENERGY LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: PNV - POLYNOVO LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: SBM - ST. BARBARA LIMITED

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: SQ2 - BLOCK INC

For more info SHARE ANALYSIS: TYR - TYRO PAYMENTS LIMITED