By the Numbers

S&P's Most Shorted

Following a broad selloff on Thursday due to global economic worries, the Dow and S&P 500 are on pace for their largest weekly losses since the heart of the 2008 financial crisis. 

The Dow is currently down 6.3 percent so far this week, its biggest weekly loss since October 2008, while the S&P 500 is down 7.1 percent during the same period, on pace for its largest weekly loss since November 2008.

According to the latest data on short interest, the total number of shares of a security that have been sold short expressed as a percent of total tradable shares, reveals that consumer discretionary stocks have the highest average short interest standing at 5.7 percent.

Investors track short interest levels to gain a sense of where a stock might be headed, along with some insight into whether any positive news might force short-traders to cover their positions, pushing stocks higher.

Materials and Technology are the other two sectors with short interest figures greater than the S&P 500 as a whole, 4.4 and 4.3 percent, respectively. On the contrary, utilities and health care stocks are the least shorted in the S&P 500.

Below is a list of the most heavily shorted stocks in the S&P 500.

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