The 10 Most Heavily Shorted U.S. Stocks

As the markets closed on Friday, two headlines caught my eye:

"Why the Worst Isn't Over Yet," CNNMoney

"Correction or Beginning of a Bear Market?" Wall Street Journal online

With so much uncertainty hanging around the market in general, I thought it would be instructive to look at the particular stocks that have the most doubters.

The list below looks at the 10 stocks with the highest short interest. I've limited this screen to stocks trading on major U.S. exchanges, and to rule out penny stocks I set a limit of $1 a share. Finally, I focused on short interest rather than the largest total short positions because the latter stat predictably skews toward mega-cap stocks and exchange-traded funds with massive trading volume.

Here are the results:

Stock

Market Cap

Short Interest as a % of Shares Outstanding

Motley Fool
CAPS rating

Amedisys (Nasdaq: AMED  )

$1.3 billion

43.3%

**

Fuel Systems Solutions (Nasdaq: FSYS  )

$484 million

41.3%

***

Synaptics (Nasdaq: SYNA  )

$949 million

37.5%

****

Sequenom (Nasdaq: SQNM  )

$370 million

35.9%

***

NutriSystem (Nasdaq: NTRI  )

$672 million

35.6%

***

Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq: ENER  )

$209 million

35.1%

***

PetMed Express (Nasdaq: PETS  )

$412 million

33.6%

****

Blackboard (Nasdaq: BBBB  )

$1.4 billion

33.2%

***

Athenahealth (Nasdaq: ATHN  )

$762 million

31.0%

**

AMAG Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: AMAG  )

$698 million

30.2%

**

Data from Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) as of June 11. CAPS data from Motley Fool CAPS; out of a possible five stars.

So what?
For balance, I included each stock's Motley Fool CAPS rating, a gauge of the Main Street sentiment. Wall Street sentiment is against these 10 stocks, but the CAPS community isn't entirely bearish.

Many are betting on these stocks' demise. That's not to say the short-sellers are always right -- just that if you own them, you should carefully weigh all that pessimism against your investing thesis.

Nervous about the markets? Check out our Motley Fool Pro investing service, which is designed to protect against bear markets. To learn more, enter your email address in the box below:

Brian Richards is online managing editor of The Motley Fool. Brian does not own shares of any company mentioned. Blackboard is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor and a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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