The Most Shorted Stocks on the FTSE

Updated October 2021: Cineworld stays at the top of the list despite a boost from the much delayed James Bond film

James Gard 13 October, 2021 | 9:32AM
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With volatility reasonably low and markets generally at high levels, it's a tense time to be a short seller, someone who bets that the price of share will fall. Still, there are always opportunities for a strong share price reaction to be profitable. This was the case with fashion retailer Asos, whose shares slumped on a profit warning and the exit of the chief executive.

The list of the most shorted stocks, which is updated daily by the FCA, often gives an insight into what professional investors are thinking about particular sectors – and sometimes gives an early warning sign of a company in trouble. This month has seen a raft of new short positions in companies like Hipgnosis (SONG) - which featured in our round-up of music royalty stocks and has risen 20% since its 2018 float and are up 2% this year. The position of 0.64% was taken out by BlackRock in early October, according to the FCA register. New positions in other companies include Marshall Wace’s 0.60% short in cycle retailer Halfords (HFD), whose shares are off 23% in the last six months. Four new short positions have been taken out this month in Domino’s Pizza (DOM), a name often seen on the most shorted list. These new shorts take the total interest in Domino’s shares falling to a chunky 3.3% of shares. Odey Asset Management has also taken out a new position of nearly 3% in Metro Bank (MTRO), according to the register, which brings the high street banking disruptor back into the most shorted list. Metro Bank’s shares are off nearly 10% this year, and have fallen significantly over five years.

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James Gard  is content editor for Morningstar.co.uk