For general shorting information—such as the short interest ratio, the number of a company's shares that have been sold short divided by the average daily volume—you can usually go to any website that features a stock quotes service, such as the Yahoo Finance website in Key Statistics under Share Statistics. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) also calculates its own short interest ratio for the entire exchange, which can be a useful metric for determining overall market sentiment.

Typically, the exchanges issue general reports at the end of each month, giving investors a tool to use as a short-selling benchmark. The Nasdaq exchange publishes a short interest report in the middle and at the end of the month. Therefore, the information traders are using is always slightly outdated and the actual short interest may already be significantly different than what the report says.

key takeaways

  • For general shorting information about a company's stock, you can usually go to any website with a stock quote service.
  • For more specific short-interest info (as shorted stocks are known), you would have to go to the stock exchange where the company is listed.

Specific Shorted-Shares Info

If you are interested in acquiring more detailed information about a particular stock's shorted shares, such as specific numbers about volume, average daily share volume or days to cover, you can visit certain websites that would provide such information free of charge. According to the NYSE, all of this data is acquired from broker-dealers as part of the exchange's regulations. However, the specific site you will need to visit will depend on the stock exchange in which the stock that you are seeking information for trades.

For example, if the stock in question is traded on the Nasdaq, you would have to use Nasdaq Trader's Trading Data, where you can find Nasdaq's Monthly Short Interest Tool. If the stock that you are interested in is found on the NYSE, you can check out the NYSE Group Short Interest data. 

The free data is updated just twice a month. Short interest tables will show information for the last two reporting dates. Daily short interest data is available but can only be purchased through a subscription.

The Wall Street Journal's Markets page provides short-sale info on U.S. stocks . The site MarketBeat.com also provides the largest short interest positions, increases, and decreases.

Shorted Stock and Short Interest

Short interest is the number of shares that have been sold short but have not yet been covered or closed out. Short interest is generally expressed as a percentage of the number of shorted shares divided by the total outstanding shares. A company with a 10% short interest, for example, might have 10 million short shares out of 100 million shares outstanding. 

Short interest is an indicator of market sentiment. Large changes in the short interest also flash warning signs, as it shows investors may be turning more bearish or bullish on a stock. Extremely high short interest shows investors are very pessimistic, potentially over-pessimistic

Day traders in particular use short interest as a technical indicator. If there is a high short interest in a particular equity and a breakout occurs, traders could scramble to cover their shorts, creating a snowball effect that day traders use to compound their profits.