Short Sellers Find "Favorites"  In Emerging Markets

According to data provided by, the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF was the top issue last week sought by short sellers who use its service.

John Tabacco, CEO of, said other frequently requested stocks last week include Ambac , the bond insurer, then Companhia Siderurgica Nacional , the Brazilian steelmaker, followed by bond insurer MBIA . Health Care Reit Inc was also on his top five list.

But the MSCI Emerging Markets ETF was by far the most in demand and that is a change from the month earlier. In the December to early January period, Tabacco said Locatestock was asked to find 853,000 shares for short sellers, or just 0.25 percent of the total 342 million shares traded in the same time period. But in January through the first couple days of February, Locate was asked to find 7.3 million shares of a total 620 million shares traded.


"While the volume doubled, the short volume was up almost 10 times," said Tabacco. "Since the beginning of Decenber, the price was down about 18 percent."

Interestingly Tabacco said last Thursday, a day the Dow finished up 46 points, Locatestock had its lowest volume day in four months for new shorts. Tabacco said in a note that "shows not a ton of new sellers, and existing ones may be standing pat with their bets, but we are not seeing returns so sentiment may be like bear neutral."

"The bets that are on the table are staying on the table. We saw a slowdown in new bets," he said, noting today's activity is "kind of mild."

Today, Tabacco said in a phone interview that one stock he is beginning to see more activity in is Etrade . "Today, we've seen about 50 percent increase in demand since last week," he said. Last week, requests for stock averaged 90,000 shares a day. Today as of 2:15 p.m., the volume was 130,000.

Others on last week's list include:

Sasol Ltd
Friedman Billings
San Juan Basin Royalty Trust
Aquila Inc
Petroleo Braileiro

As of Friday, Locatestock's 20-day average volume was 321.7 million, and its five day volume was 307.3 million. finds stock for short sellers.

Questions? Comments?