With the Italian referendum in focus, we present the most shorted Italian stocks. In terms of sector shorting, financials and banks in particular have the largest number of active shorts.
Most Shorted in Italy
Table 1: Most Shorted in Italy
Table 1 depicts aggregated significant shorts for 10 most shorted Italian stocks as of December 1st disclosures.(*) Five out of ten most heavily shorted stocks belong to Financials sector and four are banks. Also shown is short interest as of 1 year ago, emphasising big growth in financials shorts. According to our data, cummulative shorts in financial sector more than tripled in the past 12 months.
The two most shorted stocks are Financial sector stocks: Azimut Holding and UBI Banca, with 7.52% and 6.8% short interest, respectively. The third most heavily shorted stock is a construction & engineering stock Astaldi. In contrast to the former two, Astaldi experienced a 42% drop in short interest during the past 12 months.
Bank that has been in a lot of focus throughout 2016, Banca Monte dei Paschi, has significant short interest of 2.2% and is not among ten most shorted in Italy. Note that short selling ban on Banca Monte dei Paschi shares is in place since 6th July 2016.
Financials & Banks Shorts
Significant short interest in UBI Banca declined since September end from about 10% to 6.8% as of latest disclosures. During the same period, Azimut shorts went from about 4.5% to about 7.5%. Interestingly, more than half of Azimut short comes from a single position of 3.8% by AQR.
Table 2: Top Position Holders Finance IT
Finally, we focus on position holders with most significant short positions in the Italian financial sector. Marshall Wace has 8 significant shorts in Italian financial stocks which is more than any other position holder in our Italian records. Marshall Wace has significant shorts in 5 banks, 2 insurers and 1 asset management company. Their largest short in the Italian financial sector, in terms of % short, is a 2.35% in UBI Banca.
Note that besides GSA Capital and BlackRock Investment Management (UK), also Oceanwood Capital and Wellington Management have two significant financial shorts in Italy.
(*) Data presented in this note is limited to significant short positions which at least equal 0.5% of company issued capital. Data presented in this note is as of December 1st, 2016.
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