Is November's Epic Short Squeeze Roundtrip Over?
The broadest US equity indices began to fall following the 2nd Presidential Debate in mid-October, and stabilized after the 3rd Debate. Weakness was well balanced with the 'most-shorted' names staying in sync with the indices (in a more systemic risk-off manner). Hurricane Sandy appears to the beginning of traders pressing the most-shorted names (we would suspect this was beta chasing on expectations of weakness) and then once the election results were known the most-shorted names really outperformed (i.e. fell considerably more than the index). As the chart below shows, just as the Washington 'cone of silence' began, the Russell 3000 had fallen 6% in November (and 8% from the 2nd debate), while the Russell 3000's Most-Shorted Index had dropped almost 10% for the month (and 12% from the debate) for a massive 400bps outperformance. The following two weeks led to today where the most-shorted index has been squeezed 9.25% higher to catch up to the broad Russell 300's performance for the month. As the month closes, the index and its most-shorted names are perfectly in sync and unchanged with one another - thus reducing dramatically the fast-money ammunition for further squeeze potential.
The Russell 3000 and its most-shorted names have recoupled after dramatic short-chasing post-election.