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Trading  | July 11, 2017

As SNAP plumbs new post-IPO lows – currently down another 8% today to $15.60 – the brave souls who are shorting here (as opposed to the proud Millennials who are just puking their longs) are borrowing stock at extreme rates of interest.

The question is – Is SNAP a zero or about to be “Volkswagen’d”?


In addition to the 28% of the float that is currently short, around 600,000 shares were shorted in morning trading, according to Ihor Dusaniwsky at S3 Partners, a financial analytics firm. As Reuters reports,

“Snap is one of the most expensive stocks to borrow on the Street right now,” said Dusaniwsky.


“For a stock that’s that expensive, its quite a lot of demand.”

As a reminder, short sellers borrow and then sell stocks they think will fall in value, hoping to profit by buying the stock back more cheaply later on and returning it to its owner.

Investors are paying a 50 percent to 60 percent fee on their total notional short position, or the total borrowed, on an annualized basis to short the stock, with Tuesday’s spot borrow rates – meaning the price for anyone shorting it today – going at a 70 percent to 80 percent fee, Dusaniwsky said.


That compares with an annual fee of under 0.5 percent for an easy-to-short stock. Snap is the second most expensive stock to borrow in the U.S. after Sears Holding Corp, Dusaniwsky said.

What does this mean? Simple..

“If I shorted Snap today it has to drop by $1 by end of month to break even,” said Dusaniwsky.

Seems like a fair bet? As Dusaniwsky concludes…

“It’s not the shorts that are driving the price of Snap down, it’s the longs selling their position.”

And as a reminder, these are the longs…

Trading activity on Robinhood, an online brokerage platform, jumped by half on Thursday as Snap began trading, with 43% of users active that day buying shares, according to the company.


Robinhood’s demographic already skews to the younger side, with a median user age of 29, the company said. But the median age among Snap buyers on Thursday was even younger, at 26. (That happens to be the same age as Snap co-founder–and newly minted billionaire–Evan Spiegel.)


Rebecca Shoenthal, a 22-year-old journalism student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was among them. She said she bought four shares of Snap for about $24 each. She put in an order for them on Wednesday night, stipulating that she would pay as much as $40 per share.


“I wanted to test the waters and play around with some money I wouldn’t be too devastated to lose,” Ms. Shoenthal said. “I think I’m going to stick it out for at least a few years.”


Ms. Shoenthal, who uses Snapchat every day, said this was her first big stock pick. She’s gotten interested in stocks this semester because of classes she’s taking on personal finance and branding. She thinks the prospects for Snap are bright, particularly given that Snapchat is changing the way many young people, including her friends, read the news.


There was also outsized attention from younger users on StockTwits, a popular social media platform used for sharing trading ideas. About 40% of users are between the ages of 18 and 34, but 60% of those following or viewing the stream of messages about Snap fell within that age range, the company said.


Kaleana Markley, a 29-year-old wellness consultant who lives in San Francisco, bought $100 worth of shares on Thursday using a company that offers gift cards for stocks, called Stockpile.


“I have high hopes” for Snap, Ms. Markley said. “I think they are doing really cool things.”


She doesn’t do much investing generally, citing student loans and the high cost of living in the Bay Area, but got excited by the talk of the IPO. One promising sign of the company’s growth prospects, she said: Even her parents are using it now.

There’s just one thing… Remember VW in 2008?

A revolutionary initiative is helping average Americans find quick and lasting stock market success.

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