Ocado stocks reach fresh highs as shortsellers close positions

Kasmira Jefford
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OCADO’S shares maintained their upward surge for a third day in a row yesterday as investors who had bet against the stock withdrew their positions.

Shares jumped by as much as 13 per cent yesterday morning to their highest level since floating in 2010 before closing up 4.17 per cent at 325p. Analysts say its recent £170m tie-up with supermarket Morrisons has boosted confidence in the firm, prompting bears to buy back shares.

Around 7.8 per cent of Ocado’s shares are currently shorted, down from 11.1 per cent last month and 15 per cent in February, according to Markit data. The grocer is still the fifth most borrowed stock across the FTSE All Share where the average is only around 1.3 per cent.

The share rise also sparked speculation that Marks & Spencer may seek to invade Ocado’s deal with Morrisons, heightened by the fact the former M&S boss Sir Stuart Rose in now Ocado’s chairman.

But analysts played this down, saying the M&S boss had ruled out making acquisitions in the near term at a recent meeting.

Both firms declined to comment.