September 10, 2020

What is a Short Squeeze? Definition, Markets & Strategies

Forex Trading

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It ultimately suspended ach transfers how they work of Piggly Wiggly, saying such a “concentration of holdings” prevented free trade of the stock. Saunders was forced to do deals with the short sellers, which made him money — but nowhere near enough to cover his $10m outlay. Short sellers have to pay interest to borrow the stocks they will sell. If that interest rate suddenly increases, it could indicate there are fewer shares to short, and a higher demand that potentially makes a short squeeze imminent. But be aware a sudden unexpected drop in the cost of borrowing could have the same effect, as it may mean a trader with a large short position has started to cover. As recently as September 2020, GameStop traded for less than $2 a share (split-adjusted).

That being said, the notoriety of meme stocks has led to more online resources for evaluating short interest. If you search “short squeeze” on WallStreetBets, you’ll get thousands of hits. But on Wednesday, April 21, Reddit traders drew a line in the sand. They started purchasing shares and bullish call options, boosting the stock 21% — from $10.42 to $12.49.

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This sometimes happens with companies that are on the verge of filing for bankruptcy. Online resources like MarketBeat provide useful short-selling data such as the largest short interest positions, changes in such positions over time, and short interest ratio. Exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq also publish short interest data for the exchanges as a whole.

Naked Short Selling vs. Short Squeeze

"Short covering" and "short squeeze" are different terms to describe a situation involving short positions. A short squeeze is a situation in which a security's price increases significantly, putting pressure on short sellers to close their positions and limit their losses. By the end of business on May 7, 1901, the two parties controlled over 94% of outstanding Northern Pacific shares. The resulting runup in share price was accompanied by frenetic short selling of Northern Pacific by third parties. On May 8, it became apparent that uncommitted NP shares were insufficient to cover the outstanding short positions, and that neither Hill/Morgan nor Harriman were willing to sell.

  • While a low short interest ratio shows a lower average of days needed to cover a position, a high short interest ratio shows the opposite.
  • This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited.
  • Elon Musk has always been able to make the headlines — even a tweet will bounce Tesla’s share price up and down — but in August 2020 the company’s stock price, for no clear single reason, suddenly shot up 50%.
  • Banking services and bank accounts are offered by Jiko Bank, a division of Mid-Central National Bank.

For example, if an economy was doing badly, institutional capital would likely flow out of its currency to a currency in which the economy is doing better. This could attract the attention of short sellers who want to profit from a falling price in the currency. Since covering their positions involves buying shares, the short squeeze causes an ever further rise in the stock's price, which in turn may trigger additional covering. A more recent short squeeze example would be Tesla’s share price in the early months of 2020.

Practice with small positions at first so you’re not risking a large portion of your trading account. In July 2020, a retail trader from Massachusetts named Keith Gill invested $50,000 into GME shares and call options. The risk here is that you can be wrong about a potential squeeze. A lot of the supernova meme stocks get completely destroyed following failed breakouts.

Using technical indicators for short squeezes

When a stock is thinly traded or heavily shorted, this can trigger a short squeeze, as many investors have to close out their positions at once. They offer a list of shorted stocks, narrowing down the short-selling information based on the number of short-sold shares. In addition to these official websites, the stock exchanges also publish short interest stock information. Traders, therefore, can find the related information on Yahoo Finance as well as on New York Stock Exchange or other portals and exchanges as desired. For example, the major causes that lead traders to buy back their stocks post a short sale include the nature of short sellers, liquidity issues, and stock price rise.

A short squeeze happens when many investors short a stock but the stock's price shoots up instead. ” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). Start by observing how short squeezes play out, then add potential stocks to your watchlist. And who gets to profit from those exiting their short positions? It has to do with the specific requirements for opening short positions, and how aggressive long traders weaponize these requirements to their advantage.

However, Hill and Harriman kept buying Northern Pacific shares, sending the price higher and higher until short-sellers got squeezed out. Let's say Company A is targeted by a short-seller who issues a report publicizing his short thesis. The short-seller alleges fraud in the company and bets that its stock will fall. Based on that thesis, many other investors go short on the stock because they believe there is fraud. The above content provided and paid for by Public and is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute investment advice or any other kind of professional advice and should not be relied upon as such.

A squeeze occurs when a stock moves higher and short sellers decide to cover their short positions or are forced to do so via margin calls. As these short sellers buy the stock, the price rises, potentially creating a situation in which more shorts have to cover. In order for a short squeeze to occur, there must be a large number of short-sellers that together hold a significant number of shares short. Now, any positive catalyst in such a situation may cause short sellers to start panicking leading to increased buying of the stock as the short sellers begin to cover their positions. When Driverless gets an important approval, its share prices skyrocket to $60.

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However, if the price rises instead of falls, a short squeeze can occur. When an investor sells a stock short, it means they have borrowed shares at what they hope is a high price. They sell those borrowed shares at the price the stock was at when they borrowed them. At some point in the future, they must buy shares so that they can return them to the lender. During this time, day trading and individual investing had increased, and the news of this potential bull case had circulated. There was also heightened interest in GameStop in spaces such as WallStreetBets , which had pegged GameStop as an undervalued stock for some time.

Daily moving average charts

Nothing in this material is financial, investment or other advice on which reliance should be placed. No opinion given in the material constitutes a recommendation by CMC Markets or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although we are not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, we do not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination.


For example, Tesla Inc. captured the enthusiasm of many investors with its innovative approach to producing and marketing electric vehicles. In early 2020, Tesla was the most-shorted stock on the U.S. exchanges, with more than 18% of its outstanding stock in short positions. The flight of short sellers and their impact on a stock’s price are known as a short squeeze.

What’s a Short Position?

These risks should always be taken into consideration when spread betting or trading CFDs on the share market. Consult our money and risk-management guide​ for more information on using controls such as stop-loss and take-profit orders, which can help to protect your capital in losing positions. He realised his company’s future was based on retail traders rather than institutional traders and switched his communications strategy to appeal to them using social media and YouTube. He gave away free popcorn, launched a programme called AMC Investor Connect to change shareholders into customers. This example is not just of a short squeeze benefiting traders, but one that actually saved a company. When you sign up for an account, you can access our derivative trading products that allow you to speculate on a stock’s price movement without taking direct ownership.

You can get the time-to-cover ratio by calculating the total short position divided by the daily average volume. This tells you how bearish or bullish traders are on the stock. Basically, you can bet against the short sellers and win, and it’s not quite as risky as short selling itself. Other investors then started shorting Northern Pacific because they felt the price had gotten too high in the war between Hill and Harriman.

Short-Interest Ratio

If a short seller thinks a stock is overvaluedand shares are likely to drop in price, they can borrow the stock through a margin account. The short seller will then sell the stock and hold onto the proceeds in the margin account as collateral. If the stock's price has dropped, the short seller makes money due to the difference between the price of the stock sold on margin and the reduced stock price paid later. However, if the price goes up, the buyback price could rise beyond the original sale price, and the short seller will have to sell it quickly to avoid even greater losses. When a stock's price starts to rise rapidly, short sellers want out, because they only profit when the stock goes down.

With StocksToTrade, you can maintain multiple watchlists and use all the top indicators that help you find your top stocks. Short interest as a percentage of float is another tool for squeeze-spotting opportunities. At its peak, MVIS was up over 170% in five days — reaching an all-time high of $28 on April 27. From April 1 to April 20, the stock experienced a period of sustained selling. It declined nearly 40% in under three weeks — from $17.07 to a monthly low of $10.08.

  • Traders should keep on top of these and be as aware as possible of upcoming events.
  • Practice with small positions at first so you’re not risking a large portion of your trading account.
  • Some events that may encourage short sellers to open positions can include a product announcement, a positive news story, or an increase in the stock’s performance that attracts buyers.
  • Those who sold short near $5 are facing the biggest losses and will be frantically looking to get out because they are losing 80% of their investment.

A short squeeze is a phenomenon that occurs in financial markets when short sellers of a security are forced out of their positions by a sharp increase in the security’s price. Contrarian investors may buy stocks with heavy short interest to exploit the potential for a short squeeze. A rapid rise in the stock price is attractive, but it is not without risks. The stock may be heavily shorted for good reason, such as a dismal future outlook. So, when it comes to a squeeze, short sellers decide to repurchase the stock, sending it higher.

Examples of previous short squeezes and the repeated patterns to look for in real-time. This includes the Volkswagen short squeeze in 2008 and the more recent Tesla short squeeze and Silver short squeeze. The stock has been rallying sharply in recent weeks, leading to a flurry of buying, resulting in what some analysts have called a "short squeeze''. Suppose an imaginary company called Driverless is trading at $50 a share.

After a huge rally, short squeezes usually end in dramatic blow-off tops. Then the share price usually craters back to earth just as fast as it shot to the moon. This year we’ve seen a lot of short squeezes around meme stocks. These are some of the hottest stocks on social media, often supported by the subreddit WallStreetBets .

Add short squeeze to one of your lists below, or create a new one. Discover how to increase your chances of trading success, with data gleaned from over 100,00 IG accounts. If you’d rather invest directly, you can do so with a share dealing account. You’ll take ownership of the shares, becoming a shareholder in the company with voting rights and eligibility to receive dividend payments – if the company pays them. Short covering is a strategy where somebody who has sold an asset short buys it back to close the position. Technical traders also look at indicators such as the Relative Strength Index , which are intended to indicate overbought or oversold conditions in a market.


You will have to buy the stock back to close out your position, no matter how high the price soars. This is a short squeeze, as it occurs when the price of a heavily shorted stock shoots up. Short sellers then have to pay higher prices to close their positions, creating more upward pressure. A short squeeze situation arises when short sellers have to buy back their shares, given the constantly rising market prices. On the contrary, a gamma squeeze involves market makers betting on stocks when they observe multiple call options purchases for a particular stock by traders.

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