Barclays targeted by short sellers in the wake of long hedge fund support

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The number of Barclays shares loaned out to short sellers has risen over 350 per cent (Source: Getty)

Bets against Barclays’ fortunes have rocketed as increasingly polarised views of the British banking giant are taken by global hedge funds.

The number of Barclays shares loaned out to short sellers has risen over 350 per cent since the end of last week. Activity on the short side comes weeks after it was reported Barclays boss Jes Staley had been delivered a big vote of confidence from across the Atlantic. US fund Tiger Global built up a $1bn (£720m) position in Barclays – catapulting it into the lender’s top 10 shareholders.

It picked up most of its 2.5 per cent stake when Barclays hit a 52-year low in November.

The support for Barclays, which has underperformed the sector, was seen as a big thumbs up for Staley’s plans to concentrate on consumer banking in the UK and a US-led investment bank.

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Subsequently, Barclays has been hit hard by a global share slump. After hitting highs last seen in August, Barclays’ stock fell 10 per cent from a January peak to 189.6p on Tuesday. Just 0.67 per cent of Barclays shares were borrowed by funds betting against Barclays last Thursday, according to IHS Markit.

However, this spiked to 2.9 per cent on Friday and has since passed through the three per cent barrier. There was no individual fund with a short position greater than 0.5 per cent according to regulatory filings.

Barclays declined to comment.