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S3 Partners

    Best & Worst Short Plays – Week of 9/27-10/3

    The $847 billion of U.S. equity shorts that we follow were overall profitable this week making $12.96 billion in net-of-financing mark-to-market profits, for a weekly return of +1.64%. Tesla shorts were the most profitable in dollar terms, up $348 million for the week, as production results disappointed the street. SNAP Inc (SNAP) is seeing a pullback from its first half of the year rally, shorts have been building their positions since July and this week’s profits just pushed year-to-date losses just below the -$1 billion mark.

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  • Charles Schwab Corp (SCHW) cut its commissions on US listed equities, ETFs and options to $0 yesterday which caused the 40 stocks we follow in the Investment Banking & Brokerage Sector to fall an average of -3.65%. The stocks with the largest declines were TD Ameritrade (AMTD)    -25.36%; E*TRADE Financial (ETFC) -16.60%; Charles Schwab Corp (SCHW) -9.83%; Ladenburg Thalman Financial (LTS) -9.69%; and Interactive Brokers Group (IBKR) -9.48%.

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  • Zynga Inc (ZNGA) is the fourth largest short in the U.S. Interactive Home Entertainment Sector. After covering half their ZNGA short exposure, -33.0 million shares, by June 1st as ZNGA’s stock price rose 60%, short sellers have increased their shares shorted by +79.3 million shares, an increase of 252%.

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  • Snap Inc (SNAP) is the fifth largest short in the U.S. Interactive Media and Services Sector. For the first half of 2019 short sellers were busy covering their positions, buying to cover 25.8 million shares, -19% of their exposure, as SNAP’s stock price almost rallied +187%. Since mid-June, even though SNAP’s stock price rose by +12%, short sellers rebuilt their SNAP exposure and shorted 35.2 million shares, an increase of +46.8%.

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  • While there are several Electric Vehicles (EVs) being produced by Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) manufactures such as the Chevy Bolt, Ford Focus, Toyota Prius and the Nissan Leaf and there are many EV manufacturers such as Bollinger, Byton, Lucid and Polestar planning to deliver EV’s in the next few years there are only two major EV producers that are truly shortable – Nio Inc ADR (NIO US) and Tesla Inc (TSLA US). Both NIO and TSLA have been actively shorted in 2019 with positive year-to-date results.

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  • The major shorts in the cannabis sector continue to slide this week and are down over -2% this morning after BofA analysts Carey and Lewandowski downgraded Canopy Growth (CGC US\WEED CN) from buy to neutral and cut their target price to $27 last week. They cite an expectation of a slowdown in near-term industry growth and the negative impact of vaping legislation. The top twenty shorts in the sector are up over $200 million in mark-to-market profits since Friday.

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