It might be time for Target Corp (TGT) shorts to hop back on the bandwagon.
2018 hasn't been kind to shorts, which were down $470 million in January mark-to-market losses.
Target is the most shorted stock in the non-internet retail sector, accounting for about 10% of the overall $35.3 billion or short exposure in the sector. Short exposure in the sector has risen 3.8%, or $1.2 billion, over the past 12 months.
Target short interest exposure is currently $3.2 billion, according to data compiled by S3 Analytics, which is 25% off of its year-to-date high of $4.3 billion but is still 16% above 2017's $2.5 billion average short interest.
On Tuesday, Target shares were down 5.48% to $71 after the company reported quarterly results that fell short of expectations. The company reported earnings of $1.37, down 5.5% from a year ago, on revenue of $22.27 billion, up 10.1% from a year ago.
Target's troubles are tied to a $7 billion turnaround plan that is eating up the company's revenue increases.
The company's struggles turned out to be a boon for short sellers in 2017, who were up $111.5 million in year-to-date mark-to-market profits.
But this is a marathon, not a sprint, and with today's price movement, Target shorts have recouped more than a third of their year-to-date losses and are up $162.5 million in mark-to-market profits. Total losses now rest at nearly $302 million.
With today's miss, S3 expects Target short interest to increase and possibly head back to the $4 billion level. Increased market share grabs from rivals Amazon Inc. (AMZN) , an Action Alerts PLUS holding, and Walmart Inc. (WMT) could be the signal short sellers are looking for to make a run on the retailer once again.