Why Short Sellers Are Giving Up on Twitter

January 30, 2017, 7:28 PM UTC

Short sellers have been closing their bets against Twitter so far in 2017, possibly frustrated by a lack of volatility in the social network’s stock price.

Following takeover talks in October that failed to lead to an acquisition of Twitter, the company’s share price so far in 2017 is up about 3%, helped by a 1.2% rise on Monday.

By comparison, the S&P 500 has gained 1.5% year to date.

Short interest against Twitter has dropped by about a fifth so far in 2017 to $733 million, with short sellers who bought and sold in recent weeks incurring net losses of about $11.5 million, said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of research at financial analytics firm S3.

Last year, traders made a net profit of $160 million by short-selling Twitter’s stock, Dusaniwsky said.

About 44 million Twitter shares were sold short in mid-January, equivalent to about 6.2% of the company’s outstanding stock, according to Nasdaq data. That is down from 9.5% at the end of October.

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The money-losing micro-blogging service has failed to grow as quickly as Facebook (FB) and other rivals, despite aggressive spending on product development and marketing in recent years.

Many investors last year bet Twitter (TWTR) would be acquired, but talks with potential suitors failed to produce a deal.

The company will report its quarterly results on Feb. 9.

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