Short Sellers Look to Profit from Struggling Companies
The prospects of retailers such as GameStop have deteriorated over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading many hedge funds to bet against them by taking short positions.
Shorting a company involves borrowing its shares, selling them at current prices, and then buying them back in the future at what is hopefully a lower price. Essentially, short sellers are betting that the company will underperform in the future.
The 10 Most Heavily-Shorted Stocks of January 2021
The following companies had the highest short interest as of January 29, 2021. Short interest is the % of a company’s shares that have been borrowed and sold, but not yet returned.
|Company||Short Interest (%)||YTD Return (%)||Sector|
|AMC Entertainment||79%||289%||Communication Services|
|Bed Bath & Beyond||65%||41%||Consumer Discretionary|
|Ligand Pharmaceuticals||65%||75%||Health Care|
|National Beverage Corp.||63%||44%||Consumer Staples|
|Tanger Factory Outlet Centers||52%||32%||Real Estate|
Source: YTD returns as of Feb. 2, 2021
Many of the companies on this list are brick-and-mortar based retailers that have struggled to attract business during COVID-19 lockdowns. This includes GameStop, Dillards, Bed Bath & Beyond, and AMC Entertainment, America’s largest operator of movie theatres.
Short sellers have also targeted Tanger Factory Outlet Centers for similar reasons. The mall operator’s revenues fell to $64 million in Q3 2020, a 45% drop from the same quarter in 2019. The expectation that a quarter of U.S. malls will close by 2025 could also be a factor for the company’s high short interest.
Retail Investors Clash with Short Sellers
If these companies are expected to fail, why are their share prices making double, and sometimes triple-digit gains? The answer is a phenomenon known as the “short squeeze”.
In an unprecedented move, retail investors have banded together to buy millions of dollars worth of shares to push these companies’ stock prices up, rather than down.
This has forced short sellers to repurchase the shares that they previously borrowed (and sold) at a much higher price. This places even greater upward pressure on the stock, and can result in the triple-digit gains seen in the case of GameStop.
Visualizing the World’s Population by Age Group
33% of the world’s population is under 20, making young people the largest demographic worldwide. But this might not be the case forever.
Visualizing the World’s Population, By Age Group
An aging population can have far-reaching consequences on a country’s economy.
With this in mind, today’s graphic looks at the age composition of the global population in 2020, based on the latest figures from the United Nations.
The Global Age Composition
Our global population is getting older, largely because of increasing life expectancies and declining birth rates.
In 2020, more than 147 million people around the world were between the ages of 80-99, accounting for 1.9% of the global population.
|Age Group||Number of People (2020)||% of Global Population|
|<20 years||2.6 billion||33.2%|
|20-39 years||2.3 billion||29.9%|
|40-59 years||1.8 billion||23.1%|
|60-79 years||918 million||11.8%|
|80-99 years||147 million||1.9%|
|100+ years||0.6 million||0.01%|
While that percentage may seem small, that particular demographic accounted for merely 0.05% of the population in 1950, meaning our world has a notably higher percentage of older people than it did 70 years ago.
Why is this significant? An aging population typically means a declining workforce and an increase of people looking to cash in their pensions. This can put pressure on the working class if taxes are raised.
Of course, an aging population can have positive impacts on society as well. For instance, elderly citizens tend to volunteer more than other age groups. And research has shown that older communities have lower crime rates. By 2050, the crime rate in Australia expected to drop by 16% as the country’s population gets older.
To mitigate some of the risks associated with a rapidly aging population, certain countries are working towards more sustainable pension systems, to support aging citizens while taking the stress off the working population.
» Like this? Then you might like this article on The World’s Youngest and Oldest Countries
Euro 2020: Qualified Nations and Past Winners
After a year-long delay, the 2020 UEFA European Championship is back with new rules, reduced spectators, and fierce competition.
The 2020 European Championship Returns with New Rules
After a year-long delay, the 2020 UEFA European Championship is set to kick off what will be the largest international sports tournament to take place since the pandemic.
While the final stage of the tournament typically takes place in one or two nations, this year’s will be played across 11 different countries.
Running from June 11th to July 11th 2021, the opening game between Italy and Turkey will kick off at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, and the final will take place at London’s Wembley Stadium.
COVID-19’s Impact on Teams and Spectators
Aside from the initial year-long delay, COVID-19 has changed how teams and spectators will participate in the tournament.
Squads have been expanded from 23 to 26 players, and coaches will be permitted to call up more players if COVID-19 infections force players into isolation.
For spectators, individual stadiums within host cities have announced varying capacities ranging from 20-100%, with strict stadium entry requirements across the board. Since these capacities are pre-tournament estimates, we’ll have to wait until matchday to see how many ticket-holders are comfortable attending the fixtures in person.
|Host Stadium and City||Spectator Capacity|
|Johann Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam||25-45%|
|Baku Olympic Stadium, Baku||50%|
|Arena Națională, Bucharest||25-45%|
|Puskás Aréna, Budapest||Aiming for 100%|
|Parken Stadium, Copenhagen||25-45%|
|Hampden Park, Glasgow||25-45%|
|Wembley Stadium, London||Minimum of 25%|
|Football Arena Munich (Allianz Arena), Munich||Minimum of 14,500 spectators (~22%)|
|Stadio Olimpico, Rome||25-45%|
|Estadio La Cartuja, Seville||25-45%|
|Krestovsky Stadium (Gazprom Arena), Saint Petersburg||50%|
More Substitutions and the Video Assistant Referee System
This edition of the tournament will also feature two new rule changes to the action on the field.
Coaches will now be able to make up to five substitutions (six if the match goes to extra time), a change first introduced in domestic leagues to allow players more rest as match calendars became congested.
Another key change which was already in play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup is the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. This system appoints a match official who reviews the head referee’s decisions with video footage, and allows the head referee to conduct an on-field video review and potentially change decisions.
Strong Competition Among Euro 2020’s Favorites
Despite current world champions France remaining as undeniable favorites, bookies are putting England to win the tournament (despite a fairly young squad) partially due to the home field advantage in the semi-finals and final.
Spain, Germany, and Italy remain formidable competitors, and Belgium’s golden generation will have one final shot at silverware after their third place finish at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
European champions Portugal are another obvious threat, as Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to become the tournament’s top goalscorer of all time (currently tied with Michel Platini at 9 goals).
While the 2020 edition of UEFA’s European Championship features a variety of on-field and off-the-field changes, the trophy truly feels up for grabs and is a welcome return to international football for fans around the world.
»Like this? Then you might enjoy this article, The Top 10 Football Clubs by Market Value
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