April ETF Short Report: GLD Shorts Rise 83%

Olly Ludwig


Short interest in the world’s biggest exchange-traded gold bullion spiked by 83 percent in April, another piece of the bearish tale last month that included huge outflows and a nearly 8 percent decline in gold that meant many of those short-sellers made out like bandits as the 12-year rally in the yellow metal faltered.

Assets in the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) fell almost 19 percent last month , and another $1.25 billion has flowed out of the fund so far in May, according to data compiled by IndexUniverse. April’s spike in GLD short interest followed a 40 percent drop in shorts in March. GLD’s short interest amounts to almost 8 percent of the ETF’s total float in April—almost double March’s percentage.

GLD has bled more than $14.5 billion in assets this year, the consequence of growing views that even as the Federal Reserve keeps in place its five-year post-crash project to hold down borrowing rates and weaken the dollar, the world’s biggest economy is slowly climbing out of the doldrums, which has quelled the anxiety that has fueled gold’s rally.

Other significant short-selling developments included a 22 percent drop in the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (EEM)—a reflection no doubt of the bullish sentiment that’s permeating equities markets this year and helping lift major stock indexes to record-highs.

Additionally, short interest in the CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (FXY) rose by more than a fifth last month, a reflection in the ETF market that investors are trying to take advantage of some of the Japanese government’s attempts to weaken the yen. The number of FXY shares being sold short in March fell by more than 16 percent.



Big Bets
Ticker Name % Float Short 1 Month % Change $Short ($, M)
SPY SPDR S'P 500 28.25 -6.04 37,316.10
IWM iShares Russell 2000 66.12 11.81 14,095.75
GLD SPDR Gold 7.87 83.20 4,027.60
EEM iShares MSCI Emerging Markets 8.12 -22.30 3,672.24
XLE Energy Select SPDR 49.01 34.36 3,647.34
QQQ PowerShares QQQ 9.15 -12.95 3,011.27
IYR iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate 47.11 -12.09 2,718.19
XLF Financial Select SPDR 20.36 10.28 2,377.22
MDY SPDR S'P MidCap 400 18.71 26.43 2,228.68
TLT iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond 56.37 4.20 2,179.60


Really Really Short
Ticker Name % Float Short 1 Month % Change $Short ($, M)
XRT SPDR S'P Retail 354.60 11.52 1,993.04
FXE CurrencyShares Euro 221.74 3.90 607.81
XOP SPDR S'P Oil ' Gas Exploration ' Production 216.39 12.75 1,750.42
FXY CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust 183.28 21.01 211.74
RTH Market Vectors Retail 133.38 5.88 31.82
KBWR PowerShares KBW Regional Banking 117.90 60.41 19.44
VXZ iPath S'P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN 116.43 0.52 62.07
SMH Market Vectors Semiconductor 106.53 2.91 346.19
CVOL C-Tracks Citi Volatility ETN 92.45 13.33 1.69
VXX iPath S'P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN 69.86 23.76 824.06


Ticker Name Short Interest Ratio 1 Month % Change $Short ($, M)
KBWR PowerShares KBW Regional Banking 117.90 60.41 19.44
JJS iPath Dow Jones-UBS Softs Total Return ETN 45.76 -14.45 3.46
BUNT PowerShares DB 3X German Bund Futures ETN 17.21 0.08 2.20
DRGS RBS Global Big Pharma ETN 14.00 1.63 0.77
RGRP RBS Rogers Enhanced Precious Metals ETN 12.75 6.74 0.42
PWO PowerShares Dynamic OTC 12.50 0.00 2.74
GSRA ALPS/GS Risk-Adjusted Return US Large Cap 8.14 -12.39 0.90
RGRI RBS Rogers Enhance Industrial Metals ETN 6.35 23.31 0.43
RGRE RBS Rogers Enhanced Energy ETN 4.86 -13.32 0.19
ENGN iShares Industrials Sector Bond 4.46 4.11 0.71


Data is believed to be accurate; however, transient market data is often subject to subsequent revision and correction by the exchanges.

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