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Nasdaq short interest down 0.5 percent in early December

A logo is seen on a window outside of the Nasdaq MarketSite building in New York's Times Square, in this August 22, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK, (Reuters) - Short interest on the Nasdaq fell 0.5 percent in the first half of December, the exchange said on Thursday.

As of Dec. 15, short interest fell to about 8.85 billion shares, compared with 8.894 billion shares as of Nov. 30.

Investors who sell securities 'short' borrow shares and then sell them, expecting the stock to fall so they can buy the shares back at the lower price, return them to the lender and pocket the difference.

Shorting can also be part of a hedging strategy.

(U.S. markets team)