Stock short-sellers reaped big gains on Aug. 5 selloff: S3 Partners

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Short-sellers targeting U.S. stocks logged a one-day paper profit of $24.75 billion on the sell-off on Aug. 5, according to data from financial technology and analytics firm S3 Partners.

Wall Street slumped on Monday after a fall in China’s yuan currency and U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to impose additional tariffs on Chinese goods sparked fears about an extended U.S.-China trade war.

Equities short-sellers’ strong returns on Monday reduced their year-to-date paper losses to $91.24 billion, according to Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3 Partners.

Despite their recent weakness, U.S. stocks have had a strong year so far and the benchmark S&P 500 index is up about 14% since Jan. 1.

Short-sellers targeting information technology and consumer discretionary stocks logged the largest gains with paper profits for the two sectors at $6.41 billion and $3.73 billion on Aug. 5, respectively, said Dusaniwsky.

High-flying technology companies have been a favorite target of short-sellers and the sector had a combined short interest of $159.06 billion as of Aug. 5, the most for any sector, S3 Partners data showed. The consumer discretionary sector sports a combined short interest of $130.84 billion, the data showed.

Among individual names, Apple Inc, Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd and Tesla Inc delivered the largest gains for short-sellers. The three together accounted for a paper profit of $1.06 billion on Monday, the data showed.

Short-sellers targeting U.S. Exchange Trade Funds (ETFs) logged a one-day paper profit of $3.40 billion on Monday, reducing their year-to-date paper loss to $14.48 billion, according to data from S3 Partners.

Reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Steve Orlofsky

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