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The next GameStop? Here are the 10 most shorted stocks

Betting on these 10 shorted stocks could mean big rewards, but it’s important to know the risks.


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Note: All dollar amounts on this page are in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Here are the 10 most shorted stocks, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence:

Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY)

Sure, you’ve probably redeemed your share of the domestic merchandise retailer’s ubiquitous coupons, but watching this shorted stock could lead to more than just savings. Shares of BBBY were up more than 24% to $46.05 on January 27 after beginning the year at $18.03.

Macy’s (NYSE: M)

Macy’s department stores struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the retailer is already making a comeback this year. Shares of Macy’s were up 13.5% January 27 to $17.98. The stock opened 2021 at $11.22 per share.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: LGND)

Biopharmaceutical company Ligand Pharmaceuticals is yet another shorted stock that is currently on the rise. Shares of LGND were up 15.42% January 27 at $181.05. The stock began 2021 at $101.07.

B&G Foods (NYSE: BGS)

Although B&G is on the list of most shorted stocks, 2021 has been a delicious year so far for the processed foods company. Shares of B&G were up January 27 by 15.03% to $43.21 after opening the year at $27.70.

International Flavors & Fragrances (NYSE: IFF)

As its name implies, International Flavors & Fragrances makes flavors, fragrances and additives for the cosmetics industry. Shares of IFF have seen some volatility in 2021, opening the year at $105.08 and hitting a sweet-smelling high of $125.98 on January 12th. On January 27, shares were down a third of a percent to $112.55.

The GEO Group (NYSE: GEO)

The GEO Group, a real estate investment trust (REIT) that invests in private prisons and mental health facilities in North America, Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom, saw its stock rise by 13.63% January 27 to $8.42. GEO opened 2021 at $8.75.

Tanger Factory Outlet Centers (NYSE: SKT)

If you want a deal on a designer handbag or those cute boots from last season, you might head on over to a Tanger Factory Outlet. It might also be a shorted stock to watch. Shares of SKT were up Wednesday by 11.27% to $17.87. The stock began 2021 at $9.82 per share.

iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT)

Your Roomba cleans up your messes, but could you clean up by keeping an eye on iRobot’s stock? Shares of iRobot, which are among the most heavily shorted, were up 18.06% on January 27 at $149.23 after beginning the year at $79.38.

Children’s Place (Nasdaq: PLCE)

The children’s clothing and accessories retailer struggled in 2020, yet another victim of the retail crunch seen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s heavily shorted, but the stock seems to be rebounding in 2021. Shares of PLCE were up 3.8% at $72.39 on January 27. The stock started the year at $48.94.

Macerich (NYSE: MAC)

Macerich is the second real estate investment trust (REIT) on the list of most heavily shorted stocks. This REIT invests in shopping centers. Shares of MAC have rebounded in 2021 after getting slammed by the pandemic. In early April of 2020, shares hit a low of $5.02. The stock was up 8.89% on January 27 at $21.19.

What happened with GameStop?

When Elon Musk tweeted out support for a short squeeze on GameStop stock, shares of GME went through the roof. The gaming retailer’s shares were up 125% by Wednesday afternoon (January 27) to more than $333 per share after starting the year at just $17.

Musk didn’t start the trend: Participants in the Reddit message board wallstreetbets had been hyping it to raise its price and squeeze hedge funds that had shorted, or bet against, the company. By Wednesday the boards were already buzzing about other shorted stocks they might chase, and several were rising. (Editor’s note: By early evening Wednesday the board appeared to have been set to private, so you may not be able to view.)

The moves made GameStop, which is among the S&P 1500 index’s most shorted stocks, one of the hottest names out there. It also led to a lot of buzz around other shorted stocks, with individual investors looking for the next big stock rocket ride. Investors not experienced in this game should be aware that the risks are as high as the potential rewards.

In shorting a stock, investors borrow shares they believe will decline in value and sell those shares. These investors hope this stock will continue to fall in value so they can buy back the shares at a lower price and pay off the loan, pocketing the difference.

Taking a contrary position to shorting can lead to big gains as well. Buying moves stock prices up, which leads those with short positions to close positions by buying even more. Some of the most shorted stocks on the S&P 1500 index have in fact climbed this year.

What are the risks of short squeezing stocks?

Before you chase these stocks, do take a close look at GameStop’s wild ride.

Internet chatter and Musk’s tweet sent shares of GameStop up more than 300%. In an effort to minimize their losses, short-sellers were forced to sell off their shares at a loss. Short-sellers, you’ll recall, are hoping these stocks will decline in value. When stocks rise, they have to move quickly to stem their losses.

Stocks can be heavily influenced by headlines, certainly something the folks posting on Reddit were counting on. When shares of GameStop went through the roof, many individual investors certainly profited. But at this point, the open question is how long these prices can be sustained.

That’s true of any stock driven upward by trading action rather than fundamental business results. Such stocks are likely to be volatile going forward. Share prices may increase for a while, but they may also dive sharply and suddenly. Proceed with caution, and be prepared to keep a close watch on any position you take.

How to short a stock

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Image: Getty Images

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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