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NYSE short interest rose 2.74% in late Feb

March 10 (Reuters) - Short interest on the New York Stock Exchange rose 2.74% in late February, the exchange said on Tuesday, suggesting an increase in bearish sentiment in the stock market.

As of Feb. 28, short interest rose to about 16.56 billion shares, compared to 16.12 billion shares in mid-February.

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. (Reporting by Sinéad Carew; Editing by Sandra Maler)