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S3 Analytics: FAANG Stocks Not an Effective Portfolio Hedge in 2018

The FAANG stocks are five of the top ten most shorted stocks in the domestic U.S. stock market and because of the sheer size of combined short exposure they represent both risk “Alpha” trades and hedging “Beta” trades.

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S3 Analytics: HK\China Short Sellers up 18% in 2018 Mark to Market Profits

Hong Kong\China short sellers have been actively shorting into the declining Hong Kong and Chinese markets and generated $17.3 billion in mark-to-market profits, +18.0%, as the Hang Seng Index declined 16.7% and the CSI 300 Index declined by 25.8% in 2018. Short sellers continue to increase their positions as their profits build, adding $1.7 billion in new shorts throughout the year. Hong Kong\China with $80 billion in short interest is the second most shorted country behind the U.S. ($911 billion) and ahead of Japan ($73 billion) and the U.K. ($66 billion.)

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S3 Analytics: FAANGs Losing Their Teeth – Shorts up $1.6 Billion Last Week

FAANG stocks (FB, AMZN, AAPL, NFLX & GOOGL) were down 4.7% last week, 3.6% on Friday alone, after Amazon.com and Alphabet announced disappointing quarterly results amid overall weakness in the tech sector. While long shareholders incurred large losses from these widely held stocks, short sellers made $1.62 billion in mark-to-market profits last week.

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S3 Analytics: FAANG Shorts Outpace S&P October Decline

Tesla Inc (TSLA) and the FAANG stocks continue to be some of the largest shorts in the U.S. market, taking five of the top ten spots in the U.S. league table. While Tesla is a momentum, value and convertible arbitrage short, one of the main drivers for the large short interest in the FAANG stocks is their ability to be a “turbocharged” hedge for the long side of a portfolio.

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Baidu Inc.’s (BIDU) Short Interest

Largest HK/China Equity Short

Interest (in $ millions)

Ticker$ Short

Interest

Monthly

Change

YTD MTM

P/L

YTD MTM

P/L %

Alibaba Group ADRBABA US$24,333+$487-$1,648.8-6.90%
Ping An Insurance Group2318 HK$12,515+$284+$1,757.1+12.10%
Tencent Holdings Ltd700 HK$3,811-$862+$474.6+9.38%
JD.com Inc ADRJD US$1,137-$501+$99.4+6.41%
Iqiyi Inc ADRIQ US$1,110+$328-$26.9-4.63%
Ctrip.com Intl ADRCTRP US$1,007-$128+$74.0+5.63%
Ishs China Large Cap ETFFXI US$1,001-$143+$58.4+6.43%
China Evergrande Group3333 HK$947+$150+$148.5+17.4%
BYD Co Ltd1211 HK$905+$76+$300.4+31.58%
Anhui Conch Cement Co914 HK$846+$71-$122.2-24.33%
Baidu Inc ADRBIDU US$813-$181+$98.9+9.15%

Tesla short sellers are still in the red even after a strong July. Tesla’s stock price is down -0.50% today, generating +$52 million in mark-to-market profits. This follows a very strong July when Tesla’s stock price fell -13% and short sellers made +$1.53 billion in mark-to-market profits. Short sellers’ year-to-date mark-to-market loss on their Tesla short exposure is now down to -$118.6 million, or -1.11%.

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S3 Analytics: Facebook Shorts up $1.1 billion on 19% Price Decline

Facebook Inc.’s (FB) stock price declined by 19% on a slower growth outlook and weaker than expected 2nd quarter ad revenues. Short sellers, who had covered 12 million shares of their short positions since early April, had kept their Facebook short exposure stable over the past week ahead of earnings. The pause in short covering proved prescient as the today’s stock price decline earned short sellers $1.05 billion of mark-to-market profits.

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S3 Analytics: NFLX Shorts Quiet Ahead of Earnings

Matthew Harrigan of Buckingham Research downgraded Netflix Inc. (NFLX) to underperform from neutral with a $333 price target this morning. Harrigan pointed to “optimistic forecasts” in long term subscriber growth and competition from both domestic and international streaming services in quality content that may affect future margins.

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S3 Analytics: Internet Retail Shorts Profit as SCOTUS Overturns Online Tax Ruling

State and local tax authorities will now be able to charge and collect taxes for online transactions executed by their constituents after the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) reversed a 1992 ruling which excluded online transactions if the seller did not have a physical presence in the state. This ruling now puts online retailers and brick & mortar retailers on a level taxable playing field.  The news pushed most Internet Retailers into the red, with short sellers up $184 million in mark-to-market profits on their short holdings.

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S3 Analytics: Stock Loan Short Squeeze on SNAP Shorts

SNAP Inc. (SNAP) short sellers, and their Prime Brokers, have been scrambling this morning to cover an avalanche of stock loan recalls which hit the street today. The recalls were due to beneficial owners having sold stock which were on loan to the street. With over 5 million shares recalled street-wide today, stock loan desks have been sweeping the street for the last blocks of available stocks to borrow to satisfy these lender recalls. Prime Brokers are borrowing stock from lenders who are not recalling shares at the moment, to cover their open recall requests. If there is still enough liquidity in the market Prime Brokers will be able to avoid following through on their client recalls, which would force their hedge funds to begin buying-to-cover and exit their SNAP short trades earlier than anticipated. If stock loan availability dries up, we can expect a significant amount of short covering driving up SNAP’s stock price even further from its recent historical low.

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