LIVE MARKETS Short-selling 2021 highlights

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  • STOXX 600 down 1.3%
  • Another weekly loss in sight
  • Tech, miners, autos worst performers
  • Wall Street futures mixed

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A stellar year for U.S. indexes meant short sellers were overall in the red for 2021 but some investors found lucrative trades which are leading to generous returns compared to the more traditionally shorted stocks.

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According to new research from S3 Partners, short sellers did well by being down “only” –$150.5 billion in mark-to-market losses on an average short balance of $1.14 trillion, down –13.24% for the year.

The most profitable shorts? Alibaba, Block Inc, Peloton, Pinduoduo, and Zoom.

Below is S3’s list of the most profitable shorts of 2021 in dollar terms:

Most profitable shorts in 2021

On the flipside, the least profitable shorts terms were a mix of FAANG+M, meme and biotech stocks, as well as the "perennial largest short in the world," Musk’s Tesla.

Here is S3’s list of least profitable shorts of 2021 in dollar terms:

2021's least profitable shorts

(Anisha Sircar)



The S&P 500 looks set to end the week down almost 4% in its biggest weekly drop since late 2020.

Angst that the U.S. Federal Reserve could slam on the brakes faster than anticipated to contain sticky inflation continue to dominate world markets.

And Netflix forecasting weak first-quarter subscriber growth after the close of markets on Thursday, sending its shares sinking almost 20%, doesn't bode well for the Nasdaq.

After all the tech-heavy index closed Wednesday more that 10% below its November all-time high, confirming it was in a correction.

Add geopolitical risk into the mix, with tensions over Ukraine soaring, and it's not hard to see why the bears have their claws out this morning.

Back to inflation for a minute: Friday data shows even Japanese inflation rose 0.5% in December from a year earlier, up for a second month running at the fastest pace in nearly two years in a sign of broadening inflationary pressure from rising fuel and raw material costs. read more

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday she was confident the Fed and the Biden administration would take steps needed to bring down inflation during 2022.

One market not feeling the inflation angst are sovereign bonds. Germany's Bund yield is back below 0% and U.S. Treasury yields are down 5 basis points early in London. After all investors need somewhere safe to hide from carnage elsewhere.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Friday:

- Top diplomats for U.S., Russia meet in Geneva on soaring Ukraine tensions read more

- Rio Tinto shares plunge as Serbia pulls plug on its $2.4 bln lithium project read more

- UK retail sales slump in December after early Xmas shopping, Omicron spread read more

- Euro zone flash consumer confidence

- ECB president Christine Lagarde speak at Davos

- ECB bank supervisor Edouard Fernandez-Bollo

- Bank of England's Catherine Mann speaks

- Emerging markets: Pakistan, Kazakhstan

- US earnings: Schlumberger

(Dhara Ranasinghe)



European stocks were set for a meagre 0.5% gain for the week but that morphed into a loss when the opening bell rang across trading floors.

The STOXX 600 is losing 1.5%, which means it's now heading towards a third straight weekly loss.

While the overall drop isn't massive, only a tiny fraction of the companies listed on the pan-European index are in positive territory this morning.

The market stress is quite visible for European tech which is tracking the Nasdaq downwards with a 2.5% fall.

Just like the Wall Street tech index, the European sector is trading in correction territory, with the index at 741 points, that is about 12% below the 850 point bar it crossed in November.

Europe's tech index is also cruising below key moving averages which indicates it could be set for some more pain in the coming weeks.

In that respect, Netflix results last night are on many traders' minds as some fear they might constitute some kind of spoiler for the earnings season.

Ipek Ozkardeskaya, an analyst at Swissquote noted that the tech sector really needs to show some pretty good earnings amid rising angst about the Fed raising rates by 50 basis points.

"The actual Big Tech pricing reflects a fantastic earnings growth for the coming quarters, and investors won’t settle with anything less than fireworks," she wrote in a note.

Speaking of the Fed, commodities are really under some stress with prices falling in expectation of the tightening cycle.

Miners are the worst performers across bourses with the index down 2.8% and set for its worst daily performance since November.

Talking about the biggest losers today, Siemens Gamesa is sinking 9% as it promises improvement in turbine prices after slashing outlook.

(Julien Ponthus)



European bourses are set for a rough start this morning with futures pointing to losses of over 1% in the wake of a sell-off which spread from Wall Street to Asian bourses overnight.

Tech and growth stocks are at the centre of the selling spree with investors wary of the Fed's next moves to tackle inflation which has proven much less transitory than hoped by policy makers just a few months ago.

The future for the European blue chips listed in the EURO STOXX 50 is losing 1.6% and Nasdaq futures are down about 1%.

(Julien Ponthus)


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