As Muddy Waters bets against dLocal, short sellers are also eying these fintech stocks
While hedge fund Muddy Waters revealed a bet against payment processor dLocal , other short sellers appear to be eyeing several fintech companies. At least 11 U.S.-listed financial technologies companies each have more than $500 million betting on a decline in their share price, according to data from S3 Partners. Short-sellers profit when stocks fall. They borrow shares to sell them immediately with a plan to repurchase them when the price is lower and pocket the difference. S3 Partners examined 66 stocks in the FINX fintech ETF for CNBC Pro and found $15.25 billion betting against the basket of stocks in total. Of these, the table below shows the top 10 most shorted stocks. Payment service providers Block and PayPal , cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and online accounting platform Intuit each had more than a billion dollars riding against their share prices. Short sellers target companies for several reasons. Some expect shares to decline as they may believe the stock to be overvalued. Others might see structural headwinds for a company before it is fully reflected in the share price. While Muddy Waters’ Chief Executive Carson Block has alleged fraud at dLocal, there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing at any of the companies listed in the above table. DLocal responded after its shares plunged by 50.7% to $10.46 on Wednesday by saying Block’s accusations “contains numerous inaccurate statements, groundless claims, and speculation.” The company said via a statement on its website that it would refute the allegations in the appropriate forum in due course. Meanwhile, S3’s data also revealed that, among FINX stocks, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase saw the largest increase in short selling for the month up to Nov. 15. It comes despite a decline of about 80% in its stock price this year. “Shorts were maintaining their exposure in this basket of stocks even though there was a marked mark-to-market decline in their shares shorted – they were not shorting into a declining sector,” said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director at S3. The table below shows the five most shorted stocks in November in terms of the number of shares sold. Coinbase had a total of 27.53 million shares – or 18% of free-floating shares – betting against the share price. In total, short sellers placed $1.47 billion worth of bets against the stock. However, according to FactSet data, the median price target of 24 equity analysts continues to show a potential upside of 43.4% for Coinbase’s stock. Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson, with a bullish price target of $70 on Coinbase, said that while the collapse of FTX was damaging, he expects Coinbase to gain market share. “Fortunately, COIN isn’t directly exposed and should benefit from share gains and pricing power. While a knee-jerk regulatory response is another risk, clarity could help investor demand rebound,” Brendler said in a note to clients on Nov. 15. S3’s data also revealed that payment processing company Block , formerly known as Square, faces the largest short interest in dollar value terms. The fintech company, led by Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey, has seen its shares decline by 56.94% over this year. It’s attracted $1.87 billion in short interest through 4.99% of free-floating shares.