Short Seller Sends A. O. Smith to Worst Day in Nearly 4 Years

Short seller J Capital sent investors running from AOS

by Emma Duncan

Published on May 16, 2019 at 3:29 PM

U.S markets are moving higher today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) eyeing its third straight win. On the flip side, a pair of stocks not making positive moves this afternoon are water heater maker A. O. Smith Corp (NYSE:AOS), and biotech Evolus Inc (NASDAQ:EOLS). Below, we will dive into what is moving the shares of AOS and EOLS.

Short Seller Spruce and Analysts at J Capital Weigh In On AOS

A. O. Smith stock is tanking this afternoon, last seen down 7.1% at $44.74, after two analysts weighed in with concern toward the water heater and boiler producer -- amid the aforementioned trade tensions. J Capital Research said "China headwinds are everywhere," while short seller Spruce Point Capital said there will be "low-to-no growth" on AOS. 

AOS is eyeing its worst day since August 2015, and has now racked up a 23.5% year-over-year deficit. Looking at options, data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows the equity with a 10-day put/call volume ratio of 4.03, ranking in the 73rd annual percentile. This means puts have been bought over calls at a faster-than-usual clip.

EOLS Shorts Hit the Exits

Evolus stock is one of Nasdaq's worst performers today, gapping 15.5% lower to trade at $18.82, after selling 4 million shares, indicating it will no longer be a "controlled company." The stock took its second offer of $20-$20.55 from Morgan Stanley, which represents an up to 10% discount to Wednesday's close. Today's news comes just after the company revealed its Botox rival, Jeuveau.

Since its move onto the public market early last year, Evolus stock has made some volatile moves. Today's bear gap has only added to the chaos, sending the biotech back below its 100-day moving average, while also pushing the shares into a 16% retreat for the quarter.

Short interest has pulled back 7.3% during the past two reporting periods, but now accounts for over 28% of the stock's total available float. At EOLS' average pace of trading, it would take shorts over a week to buy back their bearish bets.


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