Bearish bets: Hedge fund short sellers stack up wagers against Cineworld, Sainsbury’s and Petropavlovsk

Cineworld

Hedge funds are continuing to pile on bets against Cineworld, with the beleaguered global movie theatre chain – whose share price tumbled again this week – now the most-shorted, UK-listed stock.

Around 7.5 per cent of Cineworld’s stock is held short by six investment managers, according to new analysis from New York-based ETP provider GraniteShares. New Holland Capital has taken the largest bearish bet, holding 2.42 per cent of the company’s shares.

FCA regulatory disclosures also show Polygon Global Partners holds 1.23 per cent of Cineworld’s stock short and Whitebox Advisors holds 1.19 per cent, with Adelphi, AHL Partners, and Highbridge Capital also betting against the world’s second-biggest cinema chain.

Those negative wagers have been paying off over the past week, as Cineworld’s share price slipped from almost 80.00 last Thursday to a six-month low of 63.18 on Wednesday morning.

The FTSE 250 firm has been forced to shutter its theatres globally throughout much of the Covid-19 pandemic, and in March the group reported a USD3 billion pre-tax loss for 2020.

Elsewhere, UK supermarket retailer Sainsbury’s is the second most-shorted name among London-traded companies, with 6.9 per cent of the FTSE 100-listed company held short by six short sellers altogether, according to GraniteShares data.

Petropavlovsk, the London-headquartered Russian gold miner, is the next most shorted company, at 6.2 per cent among three managers, while property development and investment firm Hammerson has 5.8 per cent of its stock shorted by five managers. 

GLG Partners held the most amount of short positions in companies traded on the London Stock Exchange, at 18, followed by BlackRock, Jupiter Investment Management and Marshall Wace – who each held 11 short positions – and AQR Capital Management, with 10.