NYSE short interest down 4.8 pct in late December

NEW YORK Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:25pm EST

NEW YORK Jan 10 (Reuters) - Short interest on the New York Stock Exchange declined 4.8 percent by the end of December, the exchange said on Thursday, suggesting a decrease in bearish sentiment in the stock market.

As of Dec. 31, short interest fell to about 12.903 billion shares, compared with 13.559 billion shares as of Dec. 14.

Investors who sell securities 'short' borrow shares and then sell them, expecting the stock to fall so they can buy the shares back at the lower price, return them to the lender and pocket the difference.