Short sellers have lost $70.87 billion in U.S. companies so far this year as worldwide revolts against market manipulation continue
What a rollercoaster week! The battle between Reddit traders and Wall Street hedge funds over GameStop stock has thrust the practice of short selling into the spotlight. For now, it looks like the Reddit army of over 2.8 million members defeated the hedge fund firms and Wall Street bigwigs. As of writing, GameStop has recouped its losses for the day and now trading at $138.61 (71.60%) during the after-hour session.
Meanwhile, short-sellers are now sitting on estimated losses of $70.87 billion from their short positions in U.S. companies so far this year, according to a report from Reuters, citing data from financial data analytics firm Ortex showed on Thursday.
According to another data release by the financial-analytics firm S3 Partners, GameStop short-sellers have lost more than $5 billion in the year to date. CNBC also reported that Citron Research and Melvin Capital closed out their short positions in GameStop on Tuesday afternoon after taking a huge loss. CNBC could not confirm the amount of losses the firms took on the short position. Citadel and Point72 have infused close to $3 billion into Melvin Capital to shore up its finances.
In another report from Business Insider, Citron’s Andrew Left, one of Wall Street’s most outspoken GameStop short-sellers, says his firm has “covered most of its GameStop shorts at a 100% loss – and tells Reddit traders to pay taxes on their recent profits.” Left plans to close out a remaining small position in the company. “Covered the majority of the short in the $90s at a loss of 100%,” he said in a YouTube video posted on Twitter.
Talking about his company loss and Reddit traders’ profit from GameStop stock, Left said:
“When you make your profits, make sure you put some away for the IRS,” he warned. “That money is not all your money. But, at the end of the year, you do owe tax money.”
The huge losses suffered by short-sellers come as shares of highly-shorted GameStop jumped more than 1,000% in the past week without a clear business reason, forcing short-sellers to buy back into the stock to cover potential losses (also known as a short-squeeze) while retail investors like WallStreetBets then piled in to benefit from the surge. Ortex said the numbers are based on the change in trading prices between the start of January to Wednesday’s close and the number of short positions.
Per Reuters, Ortex data further showed that as of Wednesday, there were loss-making short positions on more than 5,000 U.S. firms. Its data also showed that estimated losses from shorting GameStop at $1.03 billion year-to-date, while those shorting Bed, Bath & Beyond were looking at a $600 million loss.
The battle to chase shorted companies became a trend among retail traders as worldwide revolts against market manipulation continue. The chase has now rippled across U.S. markets and Europe as Reddit investing frenzy spreads overseas.
Ortex sources its short interest data from submissions by agent lenders, prime brokers, and broker-dealers, Reuters wrote.