Short sellers shopped for Macy’s stock ahead of Black Friday

SAN FRANCISCO: Short sellers shopping for overpriced stocks snapped up shares of beleaguered department store Macys heading into Black Friday. The volume of Macy’s shares borrowed by short sellers grew 11 percent in the three days leading up to Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, according to lending data from SunGard’s Astec Analytics, even as optimism among other investors about the upcoming holiday shopping season fueled a 6 percent rise in the stock. Short-sellers borrow shares and sell them, hoping to buy them back later at a lower price and then return them to the lender. They have been increasingly targeting Macy’s since September. With reports on weekend sales suggesting a slow start to holiday shopping at brick and mortar establishments, Macy’s stock has lost about 2.7 percent over the past three sessions, delivering a potential payoff to short sellers who got in last week. On Wednesday, the New York-based department store chain fell 1.04 percent. Online sales surged over the weekend and on Monday, helping Amazon.com and some traditional retailers. Macy’s and many other retailers have been pummeled this year, reflecting a consumer shift away from discretionary items such as designer-label clothes and cosmetics and toward online spending and merchandise including smartphones, televisions and home goods. Underscoring concerns on Wall Street, 3.4 percent of Macy’s outstanding shares had been shorted in mid-November, up from 2.7 percent a month earlier, according to the most recent data available from Nasdaq.

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