Earlier uncertainty over elections in Italy and the unexpected results that emerged from last week’s elections came as a shock to establishments in the Eurozone. The hung parliament signified that one of the biggest countries in Europe was succumbing to the rising populism. As the EU and Germany demand more austerity measures, the masses in Italy have shown their dislike of the policy. The rising unemployment rates and the wealth accumulated by the elite of the country is also another cause of agitation. These renewed whispers of an EU breakup, if populism succeeds, sent tremors throughout European markets. Meanwhile, as all the drama unfolds in Italy, hedge funds kept themselves busy betting against Italian stocks.
We have previously discussed, hedge funds’ enthusiasm in shorting Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (BIT:BMPS). Since then, Marshall Wace has joined in and now has a 0.8 percent short position as of March 1st. Egerton Capital and Odey Asset Management both increased their short positions in the last week of February. Another Italian bank, Banca Popolare di Milano (BIT:PMI), has seen an increase in short interest. Here also, Marshall Wace opened a new negative bet, while Saemor Capital started a 0.74 percent short position in Banca Popolare di Milano (BIT:PMI). See all hedge fund short positions in Europe.
Another hedge fund ‘short favorite’ in Italy is Fiat S.p.A. (PINK:FIATY) (PINK:FIAYY), currently a large short position of six hedge funds. Odey Asset Management recently initiated a new position in Fiat S.p.A. (PINK:FIATY) (PINK:FIAYY), while TT International, Brookside Capital and Marshall Wace increased their short stakes. The aggregate bet is now equal to 3.25 percent of Fiat’s shares. The Italian auto manufacturer recently received a downgrade in its debt rating from Fitch. However, shares of Fiat are still up 3 percent in 2013.
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TT International started a new short position in Piaggio & C. SpA (BIT:PIA), while Altair Investment Management increased their position to 2.21 percent.
Finmeccanica SpA (BIT:FNC), a company involved in the manufacture of automated avionics, defense and security systems, has attracted many short sellers. AKO Capital increased its short position to 2.94 percent on February 22, whereas Egerton Capital took up its short position to 1.83 percent on Friday. Finmeccanica SpA (BIT:FNC) is down 15 percent in 2013.