Nvidia Corp.’s (NVDA) latest stock price rout was celebrated by some corners of the market.
On Monday, shares in the maker of chips for computer graphics cards fell 13.82% after it warned that a slowing global economy, particularly in China, had weighed on its gaming and data center platforms sales expectations. Nvidia now forecasts fourth-quarter revenue of roughly $2.2 billion, down from a previous estimate of about $2.7 billion.
Some investors evidently saw this disappointing announcement coming. In a note, S3 Partners claimed that short sellers have been circling the company since November, making it the most bet against stock in the semiconductor sector.
According to the financial technology and analytics firm, the number of Nvidia shares shorted since mid-November has risen 55% to 19.21 million shares. Those who joined the party back then, S3 added, have now earned $1.3 billion in mark-to-market profits.
Nvidia’s Bombshell Weighs on Other Semiconductor Stocks
News that market-leader Nvidia is struggling weighed on other semiconductor stocks, too. Four out of five chip companies ended the day in the red, reported S3, leading the PHLX Semiconductor Index (SOX) to fall more than 2%.
Those developments gave chip company bears some respite. According to S3, Monday’s price weakness across the sector covered nearly a third of the mark-to-market losses that short sellers in semiconductor stocks have incurred year-to-date.
“Of the 82 semiconductor stocks with active short interest, 64 are showing stock price losses today,” wrote Ihor Dusaniwsky, Managing Director of Predictive Analytics at S3. “Semiconductor short sellers were down $3.00 billion in mark-to-market losses prior to today but have recouped $893 million in mark-to-market profits today.”
Dusaniwsky noted that investors continued to bet against Nvidia, Intel Corp. (INTC), Micron Technology Inc. (MU) and Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN) following Nvidia’s disappointing announcement. He also pointed out that the market leader’s woes and latest share price rout led short sellers to begin covering their positions in Microchip Technology Inc. (MCHP), Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM).
“If investors feel Nvidia’s negative guidance announcement is a bellwether for the sector we can expect more short selling and long selling in the sector and further price weakness as a result,” Dusaniwsky added.
After Nvidia, the most-shorted stocks in the sector are currently Microchip Tech, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.