top of page

Why You Should Avoid Investing in Stocks with High Short Interest Ratio

Updated: Jan 12

Table of contents:

Disclaimer: This communication is provided for information purposes only and is not intended as a recommendation or a solicitation to buy, sell or hold any investment product. Readers are solely responsible for their own investment decisions.


As investors, it's important to be aware of various factors that can influence a company's stock price. 

One such factor is short interest, which refers to the number of shares that investors have borrowed and sold short, anticipating a decline in the stock price.

High Short Interest as a Warning Sign:

While a moderate level of short interest is normal in the market, a high short interest ratio can be a signal of potential problems with a company. Here's why:

1. Underlying Issues:

Short sellers often conduct extensive research before betting against a company. A high short interest ratio could indicate that these investors have uncovered serious concerns with the company's fundamentals, such as:

  • Accounting fraud

  • Management misconduct

  • Unsustainable business practices

  • Overvalued stock price

  • Lack of profitability

  • Declining sales

  • Competition in the market

2. Difficulty Raising Capital:

High short interest can damage a company's reputation and make it difficult to raise capital through new stock offerings. Investors are often hesitant to invest in companies that are being heavily shorted, limiting the company's ability to grow and expand its business.

Examples of Successful Shorts:

Several prominent examples highlight how short sellers have identified and exposed problems in companies, leading to significant declines in their stock prices:

  • Lemonade: Short sellers questioned the company's aggressive customer acquisition practices and potential for unsustainable losses.

  • GSX Techedu: Short sellers exposed accounting irregularities and inflated student numbers, leading to the company's collapse and founder's arrest.

  • Wirecard: Short sellers uncovered evidence of accounting fraud, ultimately contributing to the company's insolvency.

  • Luckin Coffee: Short sellers exposed fabricated sales figures, resulting in a plunge in the company's stock price and delisting from the Nasdaq.

  • Nikola: Short sellers exposed the company's misleading claims and lack of technology, causing the stock price to plummet and the founder's resignation.

Examples of Failed Shorts:

However, stocks with high interest ratios is not a definite indicator that the stock's price will not do well in the future.

Tesla and GameStop are two prominent examples of failed shorts in recent history. Both companies experienced massive short squeezes, resulting in significant losses for short sellers and substantial gains for long-term investors.

  • Tesla: Despite a high short interest ratio, Tesla's stock price soared due to strong demand for its electric vehicles, leading to a massive short squeeze.

  • GameStop: A coordinated effort by retail investors fueled a buying frenzy, causing a short squeeze that sent the stock price skyrocketing.

That said, it's generally advisable to avoid companies with high short interest ratios:

Resources for Checking Short Interest:

  • AI Chatbots: Tools like Bing AI and Google Bard can provide initial information on a company's short interest.

  • Financial Websites: Platforms like offer detailed data on short interest ratios and other relevant information.

Benchmark: only invest in companies with short interest ratio < 10.


While short interest ratio can be a valuable indicator, it shouldn't be solely relied upon for investment decisions. Conduct thorough research, analyze the company's fundamentals, and consider various factors before making any investment choices. 

Remember, prioritizing risk mitigation and focusing on long-term value should always be a top priority for any investor.


Looking for a set of checklists to identify great companies for your portfolio?



bottom of page