|Vic...Short Interest is at an all-time high...|
Nasdaq Short-Sale Level Rises
To New Record Amid Worries
By CRAIG KARMIN
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
NEW YORK -- Despite an end to the fighting in Iraq, short-selling levels on the Nasdaq Stock Market rose for the fourth consecutive month, hitting a new high, as investors continued to worry about the state of the economy and corporate profits.
The number of short-selling positions not closed out, known as short interest, rose 2.8% to a record 4,456,502,765 shares for the month through April 15 from 4,335,164,375 on March 14. As previously reported, short interest on the New York Stock Exchange nudged higher, by nearly 1% on the month, as well.
Investors who sell securities "short" borrow stock and sell it, betting the stock's price will fall and they will be able to buy the shares back later at a lower price for return to the lender. Short interest reflects the number of shares that have yet to be repurchased to give back to lenders. In general, the higher the short interest, the more people are expecting a downturn.
Some investors allocate part of their portfolios to professional short-sellers to hedge, or protect, their assets in case the market falls. Investors might rely on short-selling for other purposes, including a hedging strategy related to corporate mergers and acquisitions, hedging convertible securities and options, or tax-related reasons.
The next Nasdaq short-interest report will appear in The Wall Street Journal on May 28.
Write to Craig Karmin at email@example.com
Updated April 27, 2003 9:25 p.m.