The top 10 shorted stocks for February

There's no evidence the shorts are piling on, ahead of an anticipated market pullback -- but here's what they liked last month.

By Benzinga Mar 15, 2013 4:58PM
By Tim Parker

The results are in.

Here are the top 10 shorted stocks for the month of February. Short interest is represented as a percentage of float. If you thought a market that doesn't want to fall would cause the shorts to pile in as they wait for the pullback, there is no evidence of that just yet.

Overall, the S&P 500 saw a modest decrease in short interest.

10) Lennar (LEN) - 19.36% - Number 10 on the list is a home builder. Given the market consensus that the housing market is on the rebound, analysts are looking for EPS of $0.16 and $895 million in revenue. That's year over year growth of 100% and 23%, respectively.

9) Hasbro (HAS) - 20.14% - Keybanc cut the stock from a "Buy" to a "Hold" on Wednesday, citing its rich valuation. That was good for a nearly 2% decline, but the stock has since regained ground.

8) Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) - 20.41% - The stock was down more than 4% on Thursday, after the company earlier announced the idling of a pellet plant. The stock has lost more than 41%  of its value this year.

7) Frontier Communications (FTR) - 22.94% - Frontier has a 9.8% yield, but shorts are waiting for the day when the dividend is cut. If it happens, their patience will likely be rewarded.

6) United States Steel (X) - 25.81% - If you understand what's going on with Cliff's, you understand US Steel. Iron ore and the Chinese infrastructure have to recover before the bears seek out a new target.

5) Safeway (SWY) - 26.27% - This name has had a parabolic 2013. The stock is up 41% this year. Maybe the shorts are betting on mean reversion in its future. Even with its rising 50 DMA, that still puts it 17%  lower than current levels.

4) Pitney Bowes (PBI) - 29.25% – On Thursday, Stephanie Link told CNBC she likes the name -- but with new management possibly changing focus to M&A, don't expect the almost 11% yield to remain. The high yield has kept short interest in this name high.

3) First Solar (FSLR) - 29.49% - This is a stock down 91% from its 2008 highs. Solar remains under pressure, as competition from overseas manufacturers has all but destroyed the industry.

2) GameStop (GME) - 36.56% - Like music, games are transforming to a digital delivery model. Shorts are betting that stores like GameStop will soon be a thing of the past.

1) JC Penney (JCP) - 42.64% - Would you expect anything less? With few exceptions, the only person who has confidence in CEO Ron Johnson's turnaround is Ron Johnson. The first hint that the strategy is working could cause an epic short squeeze but for now, the shorts would argue, "Why abandon what's worked so well?" The shorts may be Johnson's only friends right now.

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