Short interest figures for the end of December were released after the close on Friday and showed broad declines. In fact, this was the first time since at least the beginning of 2007 where we not a single sector had an average short interest as a percentage of float above 8%.
While short interest levels are low, some individual stocks still have elevated levels. The table below lists the 26 stocks in the S&P 1500 that have more than 25% of their free-floating shares sold short. As is typically the case, the current list is dominated by small cap stocks, which make up 21 out of the 26 stocks. The only large cap stock to make the current list is Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF). From a sector standpoint, Consumer Discretionary is the most represented sector with eight stocks, followed by Technology with four. The only two sectors with no stocks on the list are Telecom Services and Utilities.
While times have been tough for short-sellers in recent years, 2014 has started off on a positive note for them. Through Friday's close, the S&P 1500 was down 0.28%. The average decline of the most heavily shorted stocks (>25% short interest as % of float) listed below, however, was more than double that at 79 basis points.