Hedge funds short M&S shares amid retail gloom

MARKS & Spencer has become the latest high street retailer to be targeted by hedge funds betting that its share price will fall, new figures from Data Explorers show.

M&S has seen demand to borrow its shares – a sign that hedge funds are taking short positions on it – rise from 3.9 per cent in August to almost five per cent by December, making it the most-shorted FTSE 100 retailer.

Short interest in retail stocks is now 3.4 per cent, double the 1.6 per cent average in the FTSE all-share index.

“Short sellers have been bearish towards retailers for over six months and companies exposed to the much-maligned UK high street account for six of the top 10 most shorted FTSE all-share stocks,” Data Explorers said.