Everyone loves a winner. It's reasonable to assume, then, that everyone hates a loser. Yet with investing, that's not always the case.

Contrarian investors love to pick through stocks that others have cast away. Value investors are the garbage-divers of the marketplace. Conversely, when stocks have a big run-up, some investors like to bet against them. They're called short sellers, and they bet that a stock is primed for a fall.

What goes up must come down
Here's a list of stocks on the New York Stock Exchange that reported having some of the largest increases in short interest positions in June. We'll turn to the collective intelligence of the Motley Fool CAPS community to learn which of these stocks -- if any -- Foolish investors think have the power to make short work of short sellers.


Shares Short, July

Shares Short, June


CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY)





Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)





Micron (NYSE:MU)





Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB)





Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD)





Beazer Homes (NYSE:BZH)





Shares short data courtesy of Capital IQ. CAPS Rating courtesy of Motley Fool CAPS. Share counts in millions.

Of course, this isn't a list of stocks to buy -- or short! Maybe these stocks have some serious problems that warrant the high short interest. Maybe not. What do you think? Will they be squeezed?

Tapping the CAPS advantage
Over on CAPS, more than 60,000 investors are looking over these same stocks. Some they like, some they don't, and they all vote on how they feel about them. Sometimes, though, the stocks CAPS players like cross swords with those that short sellers don't.

Almost all of the above stocks are new to the list, and it is easy to see why they're included. Beazer Homes, for example, is under pressure from the collapse of housing and the subprime mortgage industry, and it's also under SEC investigation for some of its selling practices. AMD might be here because of expectations that the chip industry will grind down as capital investments slow.

Yet some may be more surprising. Despite seemingly conservative business practices, Bank of America looks to be feeling the pinch of weakness in consumer lending, undoubtedly spurred by the mortgage crisis and its own willingness to back risky subprime loans. Its earnings report the other day underscored the deteriorating quality of its loan losses and the outlook for its investment banking arm. The stock continues to trade at the lower end of its 52-week range.

Another surprising member is Schlumberger. One would think that with persistently high fuel prices, betting against the oil services firm would be like betting on the OPEC oil spigots opening -- an unfortunately unlikely possibility anytime soon. And it seems the shorts might have gotten this one wrong in a big way. Earnings results the other day showed large increases in revenue and net income, and while the North American natural gas market might have been soft, international activity in oilfield services more than made up for it.

CAPS investors, though, seem to have gotten it right with Schlumberger. They've given it a top-of-the-heap five-star rating, but its ranking moved up along the way as performance improved, which is something we can tell by a stock's CAPS trend.

With more than 900 professional and novice investors alike weighing in on the oil services company in CAPS, some 97% see it outperforming the market. Take that, shorts!

CAPS player alienone sees the predicted gas supply crunch as a driving force in Schlumberger's future.

Oil and Gas are going to explode even further within the next 5 years, my forecast is 20 years out until Oil and Gas even begin to see a downturn and renewable energy source begin to take hold.  

That seems to be what mapleburg is thinking, too.

Due to SLB's overseas presence compared to their competition, their R&E expenditure and solid technical position, they will outperform as long as the current oil boom goes on.

While there's a dearth of bears on this company, one does have to wonder what affect the proposals for an "excess profits" tax could have on oil companies. Of course, ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) is the poster child for the rationale in imposing the tax, but Schlumberger and Halliburton may also feel the pinch if it is ever re-enacted.

Speak up!
You've heard from the CAPS community; now it's your time for a star turn -- tell the community what you have to say. Only on Motley Fool CAPS does your opinion count just as much as the short sellers'. Tell us what you think: Squeeze 'em till it hurts, or short 'em till the sun don't shine? May the best argument prevail!

Bank of America is a recommendation of Motley Fool Income Investor. Best Buy is a recommendation of  Motley Fool Stock Advisor. A 30-day free trial subscription to any of the Fool's newsletters is your shortcut to market-beating returns.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not have a financial position in any of the stocks mentioned in this article. You can see his holdings here. There's no shortcut around the Motley Fool's disclosure policy.