Fitbit Inc, GoPro Inc, Tesla Motors Inc, SolarCity Corp: Hot Short Positions

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Investors who were hoping Fitbit or GoPro would catch a break on Black Friday or Cyber Monday may be disappointed, as all signs suggest that both will struggle to attract dollars this holiday season. Both companies are on one firm’s list of hot short positions, along with Tesla and SolarCity.

Fitbit over GoPro, but not by much

Analysts from multiple firms say it’s looking like fewer and fewer consumers will find Fitbit or GoPro devices under the Christmas tree this year. Fitbit seems to have done a little better than GoPro, but not by much. Longbow analyst Joe Wittine noted that Black Friday discounts for Fitbit devices were about $20 to $30 across all major retailers.

Amazon discounted the company’s wearables even further on Cyber Monday to between 30% and 40% off all Fitbit devices. The online retailer also featured the fitness wearables on its hottest CM deals, while Target matched the prices when including the 15% off storewide discount. According to Wittine, Amazon’s and Target’s support of Fitbit enabled the company to dominate the bestseller lists, although searches for the Fitbit name on Black Friday week fell 11% year over year in the U.S.

The analyst said Black Friday shoppers preferred the Hero and Hero+ at $130 to $140, which were sold-in during the first half of the year. He added that the Hero5 Black was selling well without discounts being offered, and supply was “adequate.” Also GoPro’s $200 Session bundle sold out on Amazon, which he said should have pushed shoppers over to However, Black Friday web searches plunged 26% compared to the key 2014 comparison.

Stifel analyst Jim Duffy examined Black Friday circulars to see what retailers think of GoPro and Fitbit. He said placement in the circulars indicates how retailers perceive the brands during the important holiday shopping season. He found that representation of GoPro’s products in the Black Friday circulars was down year over year, while Fitbit’s representation was improved. As a result, he concludes that Fitbit items may be more popular as gifts this year.

Fitbit, GoPro do excel in one area… short interest

There is one area in which Fitbit and GoPro are toward the top of the heap. However, it’s more bad news. In its weekly newsletter on hot short positions dated Nov. 25, Astec Analytics listed GoPro in third place and Fitbit in fourth place.

The firm noted that GoPro has been hit by class action lawsuits filed by firms claiming that the company had infringed upon securities laws. Astec said short interest had been close to 12-month highs in October but was declining… at least until the week ending Nov. 18. The firm reported that short interest volumes surged again that week, rising 5% and reversing the four-week decline in short interest.

Fitbit has been in fourth place on Astec’s short interest list for some time, although the firm reports that 13% of open positions were closed in the week of Nov. 18. However, the value as a percentage of shares available to value jumped from 62% to 79%, which the firm says suggests that supply dropped significantly because investors are selling out of Fitbit.

Tesla, SolarCity also hot short positions

Unsurprisingly, Tesla and SolarCity also remain on  Astec’s short list. Tesla had gotten off of the firm’s list, but in the report dated Nov. 25, the EV maker was back on the list for the second consecutive week after the announcement that shareholders had approved the pending merger with SolarCity. Astec said short-sellers boosted short volumes another 6% on top of the volumes that had already been going up since hitting the lowest level in 12 months on Oct. 18.

The firm said short-sellers boosted their positions in SolarCity by about 12%, but they’re expecting those short positions to start being closed out because of the pending merger. Astec also reported that earlier this month, nearly 100% of available shares were being borrowed, but by Friday, that had fallen to less than 4%. As a result, it expects this to be the last time SolarCity appears on its hot shorts list.

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