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Equity sales desks recommend higher percentage of shorts in Q4 2011

Sell-side trader short recommendations totalled 41% of net trade ideas in 4Q11, up from 36% in 3Q11, 34% in 2Q11, and 33% in Q1 2011, according to the latest data released by TIM Group.

Over the course of the Q4 2011, however, the short percentage began to subside. It started the quarter at 40%, peaked at 46% the last week in October, and then fell fairly steadily to 37% by early December.

More than 33% is considered bearish as it indicates more than one short for every two longs.

The last time the quarterly short percentage was 40% or more was during the stressful market period of Q2 2008-Q1 2009, when the short percentage rose from 40% to 44%.

To date in Q1 2012, the percentage is 40%.

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