By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The solid first-quarter stock market performance helped prompt an 8.7% rise in short interest in U.S. and Canadian equities markets, according to a note from S3 Partners Research released on Friday.
Short interest in U.S. and Canada markets increased by $77.9 billion, or 8.7%, to $977 billion in the first quarter of 2023, S3 Partners data showed.
Short-sellers aim to profit by selling borrowed shares, hoping to buy them back later at a lower price.
Technology, consumer discretionary and industrials reported the largest quarterly increases in short exposure, while short positions in energy and utilities fell the most, wrote Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of Predictive Analytics at S3.
Year-to-date, tech shares have surged 19.9%, consumer discretionary has advanced 13.6% and industrials have gained 2.0%. Energy and utilities have dropped 1.6% and 2.2% so far this year.
Short interest exposure is concentrated in technology, consumer discretionary and financials, which together account for about 47% of the total $976.84 billion in short interest at the end of the quarter, according Reuters analysis of the data.
(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Saqib Ahmed; Editing by Josie Kao)