Short sellers eye Weir Group and retailers in the FTSE 100

HEDGE funds substantially increased their short positions on engineering company Weir Group in November after the company disappointed investors with its trading update mid-month, new data from Data Explorers shows.

Short interest in Weir Group, measured by the percentage of its shares borrowed by investors, has doubled in the past two months to 7.14 per cent. But its share price has gained 51 per cent over the same period in spite of falling markets, leaving short investors out of pocket.

Retailers have also been targeted by short sellers, with Next seeing loaned shares increase to 9.02 per cent from 7.71 per cent in September, and M&S loaned shares rising slightly to 4.11 per cent from 3.93 per cent.

Short interest across the FTSE 100 is down slightly, to 1.3 per cent from 1.4 per cent in September.

South African asset manager Investec has seen high short interest since the end of August and this remains high ahead of it being relegated to the FTSE 250 this week.

Miner Lonmin, also due to be moved out of the FTSE 100, has seen short interest rise to 4.66 per cent from 3.88 per cent in September.