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Short Stocks: Bets build against financials
May 21, 2008 / 10:22 PM / 9 years ago

Short Stocks: Bets build against financials

NEW YORK, May 21 (Reuters) - Short interest on the New York Stock Exchange rose 2.3 percent in mid-May, the exchange said on Wednesday, suggesting an increase in bearish sentiment in the stock market.

The following stocks saw increased interest from short sellers, who bet that a certain stock’s price will fall. The data reflect short trades with a settlement date of May 15.

For full story please see [ID:nN21454688]. For factbox please see [ID:nN21403444].

NATIONAL CITY CORP NCC.N

Short interest jumped almost 40 percent in shares of Ohio’s largest bank.

The company’s chief executive said on Wednesday it is eyeing sales of its “problem” assets, or may put some in separate entities, after large mortgage losses drove it to raise $7 billion of capital.

About 140 million of the company’s shares were held short, or 18.4 percent of its total shares outstanding.

COUNTRYWIDE FINANCIAL CFC.N

Short interest was up more than 34 percent in shares of the mortgage lender, which is set to be acquired by Bank of America Corp (BAC.N).

The company is facing a slew of lawsuits accusing it of abusing the bankruptcy and foreclosure processes and of sloppy record-keeping.

About 102 million of the company’s shares were held short, or more than 17 percent of its total shares outstanding.

ALLIANZ SE (ALVG.DE) AZ.N

Short interest jumped from just over 700,000 shares to more than 17 million shares in the U.S.-listed shares of the German insurer.

The company’s Dresdner Bank unit took fresh write downs this month approaching $1.55 billion. Allianz plans to split the unit into a retail bank and an investment bank.

LEHMAN BROTHERS HOLDINGS INC LEH.N

Short interest rose almost 21 percent in shares of the investment bank.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters this week that the company is cutting roughly 1,300 positions globally, on top of 5,000 layoffs since mid-2007. Stock analysts have been cutting their outlooks on the stock over the past month amid difficult market conditions.

About 73.9 million of the company’s shares were held short, or more than 13 percent of its total shares outstanding.

AMBAC FINANCIAL GROUP ABK.N

Short interest climbed 21 percent in shares of the bond insurer.

Moody’s Investors Service said this month that losses for residential mortgage debt are worse than it expected and may hurt the company’s capitalization level.

About 58.3 million of the company’s shares were held short, or about 20 percent of its total shares outstanding.

Reporting by Emily Chasan

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