Citron's Andrew Left closes Wayfair short bet after long wait

NEW YORK (Reuters) - This week's sharp stock sell-off helped activist short-seller Andrew Left profitably close a long-held bet against online retailer Wayfair W.N on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Andrew Left, the founder of Citron Research, speaks during the Reuters Global Investment 2019 Outlook Summit, in New York, U.S., November 12, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

“I have been short Wayfair for four years and I actually covered it this morning,” Left said in an interview. “It felt like I was having a baby,” he said.

Short-sellers aim to profit by selling borrowed shares, hoping to buy them back later at a lower price.

Wayfair shares closed down 10.2% on Friday after the company posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss. The shares have dropped 21% this week amid a broad market sell-off.

The S&P 500 fell 0.8% on Friday, its seventh straight day of declines. The benchmark index suffered its biggest weekly drop since the 2008 global financial crisis on growing fears the fast-spreading coronavirus could lead to a recession, although stocks cut losses at the end of the day’s session.

Left, editor of the online investment newsletter Citron Research, said the sell-off on Wall Street prompted him to buy shares of Twitter Inc TWTR.N.

“If everything in this country becomes worse, Twitter will become the go-to place for information,” he said.

Twitter shares, down about 13% for the week, closed up 0.6% on Friday.

Left's largest long bet is Amazon AMZN.O, he said.

“Amazon is the ultimate stay at home stock. You will win all different ways. You have a company that is trading at the same price it was pre-earnings and they put up a monster number three weeks ago,” he said.

Amazon shares fell 10% this week.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Tom Brown