BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Rite Aid ( RAD) and Home Depot ( HD) had the largest increases in short interest at the end of March, according to data from the New York Stock Exchange, as investors turned more bearish on the market.Short interest, which measures all uncovered short positions in securities, rose during the second half of March, according to the NYSE. Short positions are bets that a stock will fall. Investors borrow shares and sell them, hoping to buy the stock back at a lower price to profit on the difference.
10. Masco ( MAS) Company Profile: Masco manufactures, distributes and installs home improvement and building products including faucets, cabinets, architectural coatings and windows. Short Interest Change: Short interest in Masco climbed 18.2% to 24.5 million positions as of March 31. The stock is down 2.6% over the past month. In February, shares of Masco fell sharply after the company said its fourth-quarter loss widened, falling short of Wall Street's forecast.
8. Alpha Natural Resources ( ANR) Company Profile: Alpha Natural Resources is a supplier and exporter of metallurgical coal for use in the steel-making process. The company is also a major supplier of thermal coal to electric utilities and manufacturing industries. In January, the company said it will acquire Massey Energy ( MEE) for $7.1 billion. Short Interest Change: Short interest in Alpha Natural Resources increased 20.8% to almost 27.5 million positions as of March 31. The stock is up nearly 10% over the past month. The increase in share price comes as investors believe coal will benefit from the situation with Japan's nuclear plant.
6. Charles Schwab ( SCHW) Company Profile: Charles Schwab is a savings-and-loan holding company. Through its subsidiaries, Schwab is engaged in securities brokerage, banking and related financial services. Short Interest Change: Short interest in Schwab climbed 25.5% to almost 36.6 million positions as of March 31. The stock is down 1.8% over the past month, leading up the company's first-quarter earnings report, due on Friday. On March 21, Schwab announced a $1 billion stock deal to acquire OptionsXpress ( OXPS).
4. LDK Solar ( LDK) Company Profile: LDK Solar is a solar-module manufacturer. The company sells multicrystalline and monocrystalline wafers globally to manufacturers of solar cells and modules. Short Interest Change: Short interest in LDK Solar climbed 37.6% to nearly 22 million positions as of March 31. The stock is up 8.5% over the past month, rebounding after a selloff sparked by the company's fourth-quarter financial release. On March 17, LDK Solar said revenue more than tripled to $921 million, coming in ahead of the company's projections. LDK's sales guidance range for the first quarter had a midpoint above Wall Street's average forecast.
2. Home Depot ( HD) Company Profile: Home Depot is a home-improvement retailer. The Home Depot stores sell an assortment of building materials, home improvement and lawn and garden products and provide a number of services. Short Interest Change: Short interest in Home Depot more than doubled to 37.6 million positions as of March 31. The stock is up 1.2% over the past month, rising after Home Depot announced on March 28 that it will sell $2 billion in senior notes to refinance $1 billion in senior notes due to be repaid as well as to repurchase $1 billion in outstanding shares.