When I first started in the stock market, I only thought we could make money by buying stocks and hold them. However, after several months I came to know about shorting.
If big institutions buy stocks, they must disclose their position to SEC. However, if an institution shorts a share, they don’t need to disclose this short position according to SEC rules. Moreover, no brokerage reveals how many stocks have been shorted through them. It’s why getting the real-time short interest of a stock is challenging.
However, there are several ways we can find out the number of shares that are short through publicly available websites for free. However, these numbers are either 15 days or 30 days delayed. Nevertheless, it’s a piece of critical information.
If a stock is already heavily shorted and the price now at rock bottom, be careful shorting the share. If others start to buy, there could be a massive short squeeze, and you may lose a lot of money, which happened in January 2021 with GameStop (GME) stock.
Short Interest from Yahoo Finance:
Yahoo has the most updated information regarding the number of short interests. Follow these steps to find out the number of Shares Short of a company.
- Visit the Yahoo Finance website.
- Search for a Stock symbol — for example, TSLA.
- Now click on the “Statistics” tab.
- Go down under the “Share Statistics” section. You would find the number of shares shorted in the “Shares Short” row.
Interactive Brokers Available Shares to Short:
I’m not affiliated with Interactive Brokers. Though I have an account with them, I don’t use it.
Interactive Brokers is the best brokerage out there. They have the lowest fees and always have vast numbers of shares available to sell short. They even have obscure shares available for short selling, which you will not find in any other brokerage.
The number of shares available to short is also a critical number to look for. If a stock is already heavily shorted and there is a limited number of shares available, it means the stock is very risky. Don’t short it.
Moreover, if the borrowing interest rate high, it also means the short selling is risky for that stock.
Here’s how you can find out the number of shares available for short selling in Interactive Brokers. These numbers are updated daily.
- Visit ftp://ftp3.interactivebrokers.com/ through Google Chrome.
- Use the Username: shortstock
- Password: keep it blank. Do not enter anything in this box.
- Click on “Sign in”
- Open the “usa.txt” file.
- Look at the “Available” column for the number of shares available to short.
NASDAQ Listed Stock Short Data:
In the US, a company can enlist their stocks either in NASDAQ or on the NYSE. To find out the number of stocks shorted for a NASDAQ listed company, follow these steps:
- Visit: https://www.nasdaq.com/market-activity/stocks
- Search for a stock, for example, “TSLA” for Tesla.
- On the left side, click on the “Short Interest” tab.
- NASDAQ will show you the numbers of shares shorted for that particular stock.
NYSE Listed Stock Short Data:
NYSE does not provide the number of shorted shares for free. They ask for money. If you want to access it, you can visit the NYSE Short Interest page.
Another great website is Finviz. We can find a lot of information regarding a symbol from this website. The search/screener feature of this website is phenomenal. We can find out about heavily shorted stocks from this website. Follow these steps to find out short interests.
- Visit https://finviz.com/.
- Click on the “Screener” tab.
- Click on “All”
- From the “Float Short” section, select your preference and search.
- Click on the “Settings” and turn on the “Float Short” column.
There is no way we can find real-time numbers of shares short. We can only find delayed numbers. However, even these delayed numbers could be tremendously important.