The 10 Most Heavily-Shorted Stocks of January 2021


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


Short Sellers and the Most Shorted Stocks in January 2021

The Briefing

  • Retail brands, among others, have been the target of short sellers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Individual investors have rallied behind a number of these stocks in an attempt to force a “short-squeeze”

Short Sellers Look to Profit from Struggling Companies

The prospects of retailers such as GameStop have deteriorated over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading many hedge funds to bet against them by taking short positions.

Shorting a company involves borrowing its shares, selling them at current prices, and then buying them back in the future at what is hopefully a lower price. Essentially, short sellers are betting that the company will underperform in the future.

The 10 Most Heavily-Shorted Stocks of January 2021

The following companies had the highest short interest as of January 29, 2021. Short interest is the % of a company’s shares that have been borrowed and sold, but not yet returned.

CompanyShort Interest (%)YTD Return (%)Sector
GameStop121%422%Consumer Discretionary
Dillards95%40%Consumer Discretionary
AMC Entertainment79%289%Communication Services
Virgin Galactic72%109%Industrials
fuboTV72%100%Communication Services
Bed Bath & Beyond65%41%Consumer Discretionary
Ligand Pharmaceuticals65%75%Health Care
National Beverage Corp.63%44%Consumer Staples
SunPower58%73%Technology
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers52%32%Real Estate

Source: YTD returns as of Feb. 2, 2021

Many of the companies on this list are brick-and-mortar based retailers that have struggled to attract business during COVID-19 lockdowns. This includes GameStop, Dillards (Read more...)