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Looking for 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.

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

10 most heavily shorted stocks

Here are the 10 most heavily shorted stocks as of this writing by short float percentage. Short float percentage refers to the percentage of a company’s stock that institutional investors have shorted compared to the stock available for public trading.

StockShort float percentage
EHang Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ:EH)52.84%
PubMatic (NASDAQ:PUBM)46.37%
Workhorse Group (NASDAQ:WKHS)42.19%
RA Medical Systems (NYSE:RMED)39.95%
Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings (NYSE:IPOE)39.88%
Altimeter Growth (NASDAQ:AGC)39.09%
Blueknight Energy Partners (NASDAQ:BKEP)39.08%
Tattooed Chef (NASDAQ:TTCF)38.11%
Ontrak (NASDAQ:OTRK)36.81%
MyMD Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MYMD)36.44%

How does shorting stocks work?

Stock shorting has dominated headlines as Redditors hyped up stocks hedge funds were betting against. But what does it mean to short a stock?

When shorting a stock, investors borrow shares they believe will decline in value and sell those shares. These investors hope the 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.

Essentially, it’s betting that the value of a stock will fall. If you’re right, you make money. And if you’re wrong — well, you could potentially be on the hook for a lot more than you bargained for. And that’s because there are theoretically no limits to how high a stock may rise, and the more it rises, the more you lose.

Taking a contrary position to shorting can be profitable, too. By investing in a shorted stock, you contribute to the stock’s value. As a result, the stock price rises and puts pressure on those with short positions to close positions by buying even more — which drives the price up further.

Either way, investing in shorted stocks can be profitable. In fact, some of the most heavily shorted stocks on the S&P 1500 index have actually climbed this year.

What happened with GameStop?

For evidence of the power of shorted stocks, look no further than GameStop.

In January 2021, 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% 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 (January 27) 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.)

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.

How to buy GameStop stock

What are the risks of short squeezing stocks?

Before you chase these stocks, 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.

Compare stock brokerages that offer short selling on Canadian and US stocks

Note: The dollar amounts in the table below are in Canadian dollars.

Name Product Available Asset Types Stock Fee Option Fee Account Fee ETF Transaction Cost Feature Table description
Interactive Brokers
Stocks, Bonds, Options, ETFs, Currencies, Futures
Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5% of trade value
$1.50 min. per order
$0
Min. $1.00, Max. 0.5% of trade value
Extensive trading capabilities and global investment tracking.
Access market data 24 hours a day, six days a week and invest in global stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds from one single account.
Scotia iTRADE
Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities
$4.99-$9.99
$9.99 + $1.25 contract ($4.99 + $1.25 contract if completed 150 trades or more a quarter)
$0
$9.99 ($4.99 if completed 150 trades or more a quarter)
Pay no annual account fees.
Buy, sell and trade ETFs, Equities, Options and more with competitive commissions.
CIBC Investor's Edge
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs
$4.95 - $6.95
$4.95 - $6.95 (+$1.25 per contract)
$0 if conditions met, otherwise $100/year
$6.95
$4.95 - $6.95 is applicable for online stock, ETF and option trades only. Pay $4.95 when you qualify as an Active Trader (trade 150+ times per quarter).
An intuitive and easy-to-use platform with access to a variety of tools that help you make smart decisions and trade with confidence.
OFFER
Questrade
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities, Precious Metals
$4.95-$9.95
$9.95 + $1 per contract
$0
Free
Get $50 in free trades when you fund your account with a minimum of $1,000.
Opt for self-directed investing and save on fees or get a pre-built portfolio and take some of the guesswork out.
OFFER
Qtrade Direct Investing
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs
$6.95 - $8.75
$6.95 - $8.75 + $1.25 per contract
$0 if conditions met, otherwise $25/quarter
$0 - $8.75
Get up to 50 free trades. Be one of the first 100 new Qtrade clients to use the promo code 50FREETRADES and deposit a minimum of $10,000 (or top up to $15,000 to get $150 transfer fees waived). Valid until December 31, 2021.
Qtrade Direct Investing offers low trading commissions and an easy-to-use platform with access to powerful tools and a wide selection of investment options. Trade 100 ETFs free of charge and thousands more for $8.75 or lower.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Short selling is risky — and potentially lucrative. Do the risks outweigh the potential gains? It depends on your investment goals and experience level. To invest in shorted stocks, review your platform options to find the brokerage account that best fits your investment goals.

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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