Missed the explosive rally in AMC stock that’s blown away the S&P 500 this year? No worries — it’s just one stock sitting on a powder keg of meme-fueled, short-interest activity.
Shares of 14 stocks valued at $2 billion or more, including consumer discretionary Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), consumer staples firm Beyond Meat (BYND) in addition to AMC Entertainment (AMC), see 19% or more of their shares outstanding controlled by short sellers, says an Investor’s Business Daily analysis of data from S&P Global Market Intelligence and MarketSmith. The analysis looks at stocks in the S&P 500, S&P Midcap 400, S&P Small-Cap 600 and S&P Completion indexes.
Buying stocks many other investors are betting against is powering massive gains for some investors. The rallies are perplexing many on Wall Street.
“The surge in shares of AMC Entertainment is yet another sign of the reckless meme stock-driven investing landscape that we find ourselves in today,” said David Trainer, CEO of valuation analysis firm New Constructs.
Short Selling Fueling AMC Stock And Beyond
Who cares about the shorts? People looking to make fast money do.
Short sellers, who bet a stock will fall, provide potential fuel for stock rallies when they’re wrong. If the stock jumps, instead of falling, the short sellers are forced to buy the stock to stop their losses from growing. Getting ahead of this, online investors on online forums like Reddit are targeting highly shorted stocks. And they coordinate buying to drive them higher.
And it’s working. Shares of AMC stock are up 2,851% this year. That means a $10,000 investment at the start of the year is now worth $295,047. That’s a bigger gain than all but one stock. Part of that gain is powered by the fact 19.2% of AMC stock is held by short sellers. That’s nearly five times the average 4% short interest in all stocks worth $2 billion or more.
But it’s hardly alone or even the most shorted.
Bed Bath & Beyond: Now The Most Shorted Stock
Now, more than 30% of the $4.3 billion in market value retailer is controlled by the shorts. That’s more than any other stock in this analysis. Just for perspective consider it’s twice the 16% of GameStop’s shares controlled by short sellers.
Bed Bath & Beyond is a struggling seller of home goods like sheets and towels. Last year was a tough one amid the pandemic and many people moved their shopping online. The company lost more than $120 million, or 98 cents a share, on an adjusted basis last fiscal year, says S&P Global Market Intelligence. But analysts are calling for a recovery. The company is seen swinging to an adjusted profit of nearly $160 million, or $1.46 a share, this fiscal year.
And investors aren’t wasting any time piling in. Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond are up 149% this year. And they’ve shot up 485% in 12 months.
New And Old Shorts: AMC And Beyond Meat
Maker of plant-based meat Beyond Meat is now fresh meat with meme-stock traders, too. Short sellers now control more than 22% of the $9.4 billion company’s outstanding shares. Should you buy it now?
Beyond Meat is a money loser, too. The company lost an adjusted $37 million, or 60 cents a share on revenue of $406.8 million in 2020. And this year, analysts think revenue will rise 39% to $556.2 million. But it’s also seen losing even more money: $56.2 million or 95 cents a share.
But none of that matters for now. Shares of Beyond Meat are up nearly 20% this year. And they’re up nearly 11% in 12 months.
Those are solid gains. But little compares to AMC’s more than 1,000% jump in 12 months. Amazingly, too, AMC remains the 11th-most shorted stock despite the rally. Trainer says AMC stock “is worth $0 per share, given its weak earnings, dilution from recent stock offerings and mountain of debt.” And analyst consensus for the stock that jumped 102% to 64.87 on Wednesday is that it’s only worth 5.11 a share.
But when dealing with these shorted stocks, do you really want to stand in front of a stampede?
Top Shorted Stocks Now
Among stocks worth $2 billion or more
|Company||Ticker||Stock 12-month % ch.||YTD stock % ch.||Short interest % (*)||Sector|
|Bed Bath & Beyond||(BBBY)||485.3%||148.8%||31.1%||Consumer Discretionary|
|B&G Foods||(BGS)||41.8||23.0||25.8||Consumer Staples|
|Beyond Meat||(BYND)||10.8||19.8||22.3||Consumer Staples|
|Tanger Factory Outlet||(SKT)||197.6||99.6||20.4||Real Estate|
|Fulgent Genetics||(FLGT)||309.8||43.8||20.2||Health Care|
|Lordstown Motors||(RIDE)||n/a||-38.3||19.4||Consumer Discretionary|
|Hostess Brands||(TWNK)||34.9||12.5||19.4||Consumer Staples|
|Global Blood Therapeutics||(GBT)||-45.4||-13.3||19.4||Health Care|
|AMC Entertainment Holdings||(AMC)||1,019.0||2850.5||19.2||Communication Services|
|Sorrento Therapeutics||(SRNE)||76.9||23.7||19.1||Health Care|
|Nuance Communications||(NUAN)||129.0||20.5||19.0||Information Technology|
Sources: IBD, S&P Global Market Intelligence from S&P 500, S&P Midcap 400, S&P Small-Cap 600 and S&P Completion indexes; * Measured as % of shares outstanding
Follow Matt Krantz on Twitter @mattkrantz
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