Short Interest

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NYSE Short Interest, Last Six Months 2000

Source: NYSE

Nasdaq Short Interest, Last Six Months 2000

Source: Nasdaq

Short-sellers played their part in the year-end market downturn, according to the latest short-interest figures from the

NYSE

and

Nasdaq

.

On the NYSE, the number of shares sold short and not yet covered -- known as short interest -- grew for a record fourth-straight month to 4,875,865,244 shares for the period ended Dec. 15. That's up 6.2% from the month ended Nov. 15.

On the Nasdaq, short interest reached a record 3,497,263,482 shares for the month ended Dec. 15, up 3.48% from the prior month. As short interest rose from Nov. 15-Dec. 15, the

Nasdaq Composite Index

fell more than 15%.

If the market ever begins to sustain a prolonged rally, it could get a boost from all of these short-sellers, who would eventually be forced to cover, or buy back, some of their shares.

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