Retail shares in chess game with oblivion
The common stock of retailers is among some of the most shorted shares on U.S. exchanges. Under Armour Inc. has more than a fifth of its shares sold short, according to Bloomberg's latest data, with Nordstrom Inc. and Macy's Inc. also in the top 10. Discovery Inc. was also heavily shorted, as many investors see the educational cable channel significantly losing out as consumers continue to cut the cord in favor of streaming services. Mall operator Macerich Co. was also on the list as its industry has drifted far from its halcyon days.
Even as consumers' options are being consolidated to fewer providers (namely Amazon.com), Walmart Inc., Amazon's closest peer, is among the least-shorted companies, suggesting the market is not ready for a one-shop world.
Most of these bets have worked out for investors so far in the third quarter. Through Thursday, the average return among the 10 companies was about -4.5%. Macy's was down 10.6% in the period while Nordstrom fell 9%. Tool-maker Snap-on Inc. went the other way, gaining 1.2%.