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Tweets: @ihors3 – The Stars Group (TSG)
$TSG

short int is $297 mm; 19.40 mm shs shorted; 8.65% of float, 0.30% fee. Shs shorted are up +14.6 mm shs, +303%, in 2019 as its price fell -7.3% & down -1.2mm shs, -5.8%, over the last month. Shorts are down -$58 mm in mark-to-market YTD losses, including down -$92 mm today.

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Shorts up as Schwab Cuts Commissions

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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Shorting EVs – Tesla versus Nio

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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McDonald’s Squeezes Beyond Meat Short Sellers

McDonald’s Corp (MCD) will introduce the PLT (Plant, Lettuce & Tomato) in a three-month trial in its Ontario, Canada restaurants. While Nestle (NESN SW) is supplying its plant-based patty to McDonald’s restaurants in Germany, the firm has chosen Beyond Meat Inc (BYND) to supply its alt-meat patties in Canada. One of McDonald’s main competitors, Burger King Corp, has already partnered with Impossible Foods Inc as their plant-based patty purveyor.

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What Are the Shorts Doing? Week of 9/16-20

We are tracking $850 billion of Short Interest in the domestic equity market and with the S&P 500 down only -0.02% and the Nasdaq up 0.08% we would expect nominal changes in short interest balances this week. Overall, we saw $6.6 billion in short covering this week as short sellers trimmed their positions slightly ahead of the Fed move.

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Hottest Short Stocks – Week of 9/16-20

The “Hottest” items usually come with high costs, whether it be the Toro at Nobu, a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild or NY Ranger seats on the blue line at MSG, consumers have to pay for “value.” Short sellers also have to dig deep into their pockets to short the “hottest” stocks. Beyond Meat (BYND US) tops the list of the stocks with the highest stock borrow fees at 112.68%, with its rates trending even higher today.

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Freshly Squeezable Domestic Stocks

While not all stocks with high borrow rates correlate with eventual short squeezes, looking at the pool of stocks with sudden and significant increases in their financing costs is a target rich environment for finding stocks with short squeeze potential. An unanticipated and hefty increase in a short stock’s borrow fee can pressure short sellers to close out their positions as financing costs take out an outsized portion of their expected Alpha.

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