Heavily-shorted stocks are supposed to be the domain of smart money. But it doesn’t always work out that way for those investors. And right now I’m willing to give those pros the benefit of the doubt on one of their bearish bets and two names which have me thinking of the movie Dumb & Dumber. Let me explain.
The market seemingly just won’t go down. Not that there aren’t more than a few professionals quietly betting against it, in heavily-shorted stocks or vis-à-vis obfuscated options strategies that are much more difficult to track. But that doesn’t make these investors right. Actually, far from it.
Bottom line, the trend is your friend. And right now the broader trend is still bullish despite the market even having to endure end-of-days style threats from the coronavirus virus the past couple weeks. I’m personally amazed at this resilience. However, I’m also unwilling to simply bet against it as some are doing.
Having said that, let’s look at one smart money shorted stock opportunity where the trend is in fact working and two instances where those investors look a bit more like Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne.
Shorted Stocks: Kohl’s (KSS)
Source: Charts by TradingView
Brick-and-mortar department store chain Kohl’s (NYSE:KSS) is our first shorted stock. And here, we have to agree with the outfit’s resident bear population of nearly 15%. Not only did last April’s ‘package return’ partnership with retail and tech giant Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) mark a key high in shares and fail to bring in paying customers, this heavily-shorted name has now announced a necessitated restructuring due to its ailing ways.
For today’s bearish traders, there’s more to the story. The price chart in KSS stock continues to paint a grim picture for bulls that’s ripe for shorting. As the provided weekly chart shows, it’s been a profitable ride for bears in this shorted stock since the Amazon deal established an irregular, i.e. high right, shoulder.
Now a bearish weekly cup-with-handle developed off last year’s low and a subsequent ‘return move’ which aggressively turned Kohl’s shares back towards those lows, is setting up. As much, it’s time to join the smart money in KSS stock.
KSS Stock Strategy: I’d recommend gaining bearish exposure in this shorted stock beneath the handle low of $42.50. The pattern entry also requires the consolidation’s high of $46.47 from last week remains intact. Failing that, all bets are off the table. And it nearly goes without saying, if a short is elected, a later-dated failure of the handle would be a strong reason to exit the position.
YETI Holdings (YETI)
Source: Charts by TradingView
Yeti (NYSE:YETI) is the next shorted stock to catch our eye. Here though, my view is that YETI stock’s 50%-plus short interest are being ‘dumb,’ and this high-end cooler upstart and cooler-than-cool hip brand should be on the radar for buying.
Technically, the recent IPO has put together a very durable technical consolidation that has combined two bases over the course of nine-plus months. But some might point out this is the result of a failed cup breakout, and further, last week’s attempt to rally above the second corrective base didn’t work out either. But there are reasons to believe the third time will prove the charm for bulls.
Following this week’s solid earnings beat and despite trading lower, YETI stock has nevertheless maintained its technical composure by establishing a weekly doji. What’s more, the ‘decision’ candlestick has formed a new pivot low within the combined base’s bullishly-trending series of higher lows. All told, there’s solid technical evidence hinting that this shorted stock’s bears are about to be put on ice!
YETI Stock Strategy: Buy YETI stock above $36.73. This entry confirms the decision candlestick as a bullish pattern. It also has the added advantage of clearing the first base’s original breakout attempt. Use the candlestick low, if required, as a very real reason to abort while containing risk to a reasonable level.
Source: Charts by TradingView
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is the last of our shorted stocks. The EV manufacturer is also another buy candidate where the bears could be acting even ‘dumber.’ Short interest on a percentage basis isn’t outrageously high in Tesla. But due to the company’s $145 billion market cap, in dollar terms it is the largest short in the market at the moment.
Technically, shares of Tesla broke out of a triangle consolidation on Thursday. It bodes well for bulls, as the formation has the advantage of being a continuation pattern. And as everyone knows, except maybe Ralph Nader, this shorted stock has been on a tear and delivering massive profits to bullish investors.
Now and following news of a secondary priced at $767 and shares holding the pattern breakout above $800, there’s strong evidence off and on the price chart that bullish investors remain in the driver’s seat.
TSLA Stock Strategy: With shares near $804, this shorted stock is in position for buying. I’d personally recommend the use of a slightly out-of-the-money bull call spread to limit and reduce risk while leveraging one’s upside profit potential. Either way, I’d also recommend using $755 for closing the long if needed. That does a good job of minimizing exposure even more. And as the price pattern suggests, that’s enough leeway on the Tesla chart as well.
Investment accounts under Christopher Tyler’s management do not currently own positions in securities mentioned in this article. The information offered is based upon Christopher Tyler’s observations and strictly intended for educational purposes only; the use of which is the responsibility of the individual. For additional market insights and related musings, follow Chris on Twitter @Options_CAT and StockTwits.
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