About a week ago, IMF released its evaluation of Italian banks in which they said that the sector carried enough weight to navigate through the financial crisis. The banks have to work on restoring investor confidence but they have sufficient capital in place to anchor themselves.
Despite of Italy passing through IMF’s stress tests, there seems to be no loss of vigor in hedge funds picking stocks too short. Hedge funds are taking up the pressure on Italian banks with a flurry of new short positions or increases in existing stakes. Robert Citrone’s Discovery Capital chipped in by disclosing a short in Banca Popolare di Milano (BIT:PMI) which is now equal to 0.7 percent of the shares. Oxford Asset Management and Saemor Capital also have almost the similar short bets. Other banks that have captured shortsellers attention include Banca Carige SpA (BIT:CRG), where Egerton Capital disclosed a o.51 percent short on April 4.
Take a look at the full list of Hedge Fund Short Positions in Italy.
We have mentioned the popularity of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (BIT:BMPS) for short bets, Wellington Management and Odey Asset Management have added more to their short positions in the bank in the past weeks. Egerton Capital and Marshall Wace slightly reduced their bets. Egerton Capital currently stands with the largest short exposure, at 1.33 percent of the outstanding shares.
Banco Popolare Societa Cooperativa (BIT:BP) is a short position of Marshall Wace and Oxford Asset Management. Marshall Wace has another short position in major bank of Italy, UBI Banca Scpa (BIT:UBI), worth 1.32 percent of the equity.
Shorts in financial holding companies with a lot of exposure in banking and insurance are just as popular in Italy for shorts. Assicurazioni Generali SpA (BIT:G), a major player in insurance sector with a market cap of $27.5 billion is a short positon of Viking Global Investors. Viking opened up with a 0.9 percent short in Nov 2012, which is now down to 0.55 percent of Assicurazioni Generali SpA (BIT:G), as of April 11.
Centaurus Capital Ltd is the only one with a short in Fondiaria Sai SpA (BIT:FSA), the company has business in various sectors including banking, agriculture and real estate. Unipol Gruppo Finanziario SpA (BIT:UNI) is another holding company with units involved in insurance and banking. Oxford Asset Management has a 1.38 percent short position in the $2.3 billion company.
Other than financials, Fiat SpA (BIT:F) is also a favorite among hedge funds with five of them betting against the company. The brodcasting company, Mediaset SpA (BIT:MS) is a short position of five hedge funds.