Short Interest (as % of float): 42%
Average Analyst-Predicted Upside: 16%
Herbalife (HLF) isn’t just causing fights between short sellers and analysts, but also between the smart money.
Bill Ackman made headlines late last year when he called the company a pyramid scheme and made a very public bet on it to go lower. Since then, George Soros and Carl Icahn have taken the other side of the coin by going long.
Analysts aren’t buying Ackman’s claims, either. The median price target of the stock implies upside of 16% — a decent difference, especially considering HLF already has gained 94% year-to-date. And Argus recently upgraded the firm to a “buy” from “hold” late last month, giving it a price target of $80 — 25% more upside.
Needless to say, Ackman and the shorts have been burned on the way up, but still, nearly 31 million shares were sold short as of Aug. 15 — around 42% of the float and only slightly lowered than a month earlier.
If analysts continue to push the bullish case and spur more interest, Herbalife could keep delivering pain to the shorts.