Call it a love-hate relationship.
Investors have bet heavily this year that a number of stocks would fall, but in some cases, the exact opposite has happened, fueling some very large gains in those very same stocks.
Advanced Micro Devices, Rent-a-Center, Shake Shack and Restoration Hardware — all stocks with high short interest – have logged impressive returns of 54 percent, 70 percent, 68 percent, and 53 percent, respectively, over the past three months.
Only one of the names looks fit for more gains, according to Miller Tabak’s equity strategist, Matt Maley: Advanced Micro Devices.
“It broke above its 2018 highs at the beginning of the month and broke out very nicely. That’s very positive. That old resistance level has now become new support,” Maley told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday. “If it can bounce off that and take out its old recent highs of $17.11, that’s going to be very bullish and it’s going to give it a lot more momentum.”
On the flipside, Restoration Hardware or RH is likely deserving of Wall Street’s derision, said Maley.
“The thing that concerns me the most about this is its RSI chart, it got up to 88, that’s extremely overbought and it’s coming back a little bit now but I think it’s got to come back a lot more before it really works off those extreme overbought conditions,” Maley said.
When traders short stocks, they are betting that shares will fall. But when those shares instead rise, investors are often forced to buy those shares back to avoid future losses. That buying dynamic, called a short squeeze, can send stocks sharply higher, even if the fundamentals don't support the rise.
“I just don’t think the fundamentals in most of these things are strong enough to chase,” said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, on Wednesday’s “Trading Nation.” “I definitely wouldn’t chase Restoration Hardware. I do like AMD because they’re getting a lot of benefit from Intel as well. ... Everything else I would really stay away.”
Rent-a-Center is the most shorted stocks of the group, with short interest at 45 percent of its float. AMD is at 19 percent of its float, RH is at 38.7 percent and Shake Shack is at 35 percent.