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Most shorted stocks ahead of earnings

While earnings season often provides companies an opportunity to tout their latest successes, some firms are expected to fall flat on their face.

Of those companies announcing earnings this week, subprime lender World Acceptance has been the most shorted stock ahead of quarterly announcement, followed closely by IT firm Neustar, according to data from Markit.

With almost a third of its shares outstanding on loan, World Acceptance is actually less shorted than in April when it had over 40 percent on loan, according to Markit.

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Markit also found that the company seeing the largest jump in shorted stock is oil rig leaser Hercules Offshore. The company "has seen its short interest more than double in the last four weeks after announcing the loss of two forecasted contracts, which had many investors questioning the strength of the company's backlog of work," Markit analyst Simon Colvin wrote.

And while shorts are piling into Hercules Offshore and biofuel marketer and producer Pacific Ethanol, Markit found that Hawaiian Holdings—parent of Hawaiian Airlines—is seeing the biggest decrease in its shares on loan.

Here's the rest of Markit's list:

most shorted 140721 EC

Name Ticker % Shares Outstanding On Loan 1 Month % Change Industry Earnings Date
World Acceptance CorpWRLD30.9,1%Consumer Finance7/22/2014
Neustar IncNSR30.4-7%IT Services7/23/2014
Cliffs Natural Resources IncCLF29.5,3%Metals & Mining7/25/2014
Irobot CorpIRBT29.3-2%Household Durables7/22/2014
Jetblue Airways CorpJBLU27.6,1%Airlines7/24/2014
Chemed CorpCHE26.7,0%Health Care Providers & Services7/23/2014
Exact Sciences CorpEXAS25.0-7%Biotechnology7/22/2014
Janus Capital Group IncJNS21.4,2%Capital Markets7/23/2014
Wesco International IncWCC20.2,3%Trading Companies & Distributors7/24/2014
Hercules Offshore IncHERO20.1,108%Energy Equipment & Services7/23/2014
Theravance IncTHRX18.9,5%Pharmaceuticals7/25/2014
Acacia Research CorpACTG17.6-5%Professional Services7/24/2014
Pacific Ethanol IncPEIX17.4,34%"Oil Gas & Consumable Fuels"7/24/2014
Healthways IncHWAY16.1-9%Health Care Providers & Services7/23/2014
Verisign IncVRSN15.9,4%Internet Software & Services7/24/2014
Hawaiian Holdings IncHA15.6-9%Airlines7/22/2014
Titan International IncTWI15.0-7%Machinery7/24/2014
Abaxis IncABAX14.8,2%Health Care Equipment & Supplies7/25/2014
Cabela's IncCAB14.7-5%Specialty Retail7/24/2014
Proto Labs IncPRLB14.5,12%Machinery7/24/2014

Internationally, Finnish construction company Yit and Swiss tech firm Logitech were the most shorted European stocks with 12.1 percent and 11 percent of outstanding share on loan, respectively.

In Asia, the bears are out on semiconductors, with Advantest and ASM Pacific Technology both in the top three most shorted stocks, according to Markit.

This earnings season may prove tough for those holding shorts. Some 67 percent of S&P 500 companies that have already reported this quarter announced revenue above analyst expectations, and 68 percent have beaten on earnings, according to data from Thomson Reuters.

This exceeds long-term averages in Reuters figures of 61 percent beating on the top line and 63 percent beating on earnings.

The most shorted stock in the is GameStop, followed closely by Cablevision Systems, according to FactSet.

—By CNBC's Everett Rosenfeld