Equitable Group (EQB)

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Top Shorts Report: Taking profits in Paramount Resources

Short sellers reduced their exposure to Paramount Resources in the first half of June as the stock put in new year-to-date lows. Nevertheless, that still left the stock as one of the most shorted as a percentage of its float in Canada. Jumping to the top of Top 10 table based on IIROC data as of June 15th is tightly controlled Stingray Group which has a relatively small estimated float. As such, we would be reluctant to read too much into the short positioning in that stock.

The other new arrival in the Top 10 is Automotive Property REIT which announced on June 12th a 7 million unit offering priced at $10.45 per unit in conjunction with a dealership property deal.

Shorts see Paramount as a favourite target while VersaPay gains in popularity

Shorts continue to press their bets against Paramount Resources (POU) and High Liner Foods (HLF) which remain the two top favourite short targets in Canada based on the May 31st IIROC short report released today. Although short positions fell as a percentage of float in both names since the May 15th IIROC short report, the reductions were not enough to move the two stocks down the list of the most shorted names in Canada.

Shorts stick with their favourites

With most Q1 earnings reports out of the way, short sellers are sticking with their favourite targets. Bonterra Energy (BNE) is the only new name on our ten most shorted stock list (as a % of float), replacing Laurentian Bank (LB) which is now the 11th most shorted stock. The top two spots continue to be held by Paramount Resources (POU) and High Liner Foods (HLF).

Sound bites: Insiders buying at Equitable Group, selling in Energy

In the first part of my October 4th interview with Jim Goddard, I discuss the recent housing policy changes announced by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. The stock prices of smaller mortgage lenders have taken a big hit since the news, including INK Canadian Insider Index members Equitable Group (INK Edge outlook: mixed; EQB) and First National Financial (INK Edge outlook: mostly sunny; FN). We noted in our Wednesday Morning INK report that Equitable Group now has a mixed INK Edge outlook, which, if maintained, would push it out of our Index during the November rebalancing (at which point a constituent stock must have a mostly sunny or sunny outlook to remain). However, a director bought during Wednesday's plunge, suggesting that the stock still has a fighting chance to retain its index membership.

Make that two Poloz rate cuts to go!

Bank of Canada rate cuts may well have been the most popular item at global convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard (INK Edge outlook: sunny; ATD.B) Wednesday, if not with their customers certainly with shareholders. The stock was the best performing name (+4.2%) in the INK Canadian Insider (CIN) Index as insider stocks rallied on the back of a quarter point drop in the central bank's overnight rate. However, the Poloz cut did not lift all boats. While both the INK CIN Index (+0.14%) and the S&P/TSX Composite Index (+0.43%) rallied on the rate news, both the S&P/TSX Completion (-0.37%) and Small Cap (-0.44%) indices dropped. Perhaps most surprising was a drop in the Dividend Aristocrats Index which suffered a -0.47% loss.

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