Short sellers are still betting that financial shares will fall but they have boldly moved into shares of companies which are considered healthy, those with both good balance sheets and relatively strong earnings prospects.Data is as of the end of October.
The short interest in AIG (AIG) rose 44% to 135.7 million shares. Short interest in Citigroup (C) rose 18% to 138 million. Shares short in Morgan Stanley (MS) were up 85% to 44 million. Shares short in Well Fargo (WFC) jumped 14% to 151.4 million. The short interest in American Express (AXP) rose 37% to 30.3 million.
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"Safe" companies were also attacked by short sellers. Shares short in P&G (PG) rose 39% to 46.3 million. The short interest in GE (GE) rose 18% to 79.8 million. Shares short in AT&T (T) rose 30% to 41 million. The short interest n Caterpillar (CAT) was up 31% to 26.7 million.Short interest in Exxon (XOM) rose 18% to 39.5 million. Shares short in Microsoft (MSFT) rose 20% to 82.8 million. Shares short in Oracle (ORCL) were up 37% to 43.6 million. Short interest in Cisco CSCO) rose 9% to 61.4 million. Shares short in Apple (AAPL) moved up 16% to 28.1 million
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Short sellers were willing to make huge bets against companies in deep financial trouble. Shares short in Qwest (Q) rose 24% to 70.7 million. The short position in Ford (F) was up 4% to 305.2 million. Shares sold short in GM (GM) rose 10% to 102.6 million. The short interest in Motorola (MOT) was up 29% to 40 million. Shares short in Nortel (NT) were up 28% to 40.7 million. Short interest in Sirius (SIRI) moved up 23% to 285.2 million.
Data from NYSE and NASDAQ.