10th Nov Flash Short – Analysis


21 March 2018


The 250K trade reported this morning (Monday 13th Nov);

clearly appears to be a Sell. One thing that was a noticeable difference between the 18th August short and the 10th November one is that the more recent one did not appear to have the post peak sells that appear as the 1.2->1.3M and 1.3->1.4M steps on the bottom graph.

This delayed sell appears to resolve that inconsistency, bringing the total shorted volume to 1.35M shares – marginally lower than the 18th August volume, but almost identical value as the price per share is now higher.


The share trading behaviour of Friday the 10th of November 2017 bears remarkable similarities with that of Friday the 18th August 2017 (see the original article and the most recent trading update – week 11). The relevant trades are shown below, with delayed reported trades marked with a ‘D’, and the suspicious sells (sells in multiples of 50K) highlighted in bright green.

The Bid and Ask listed are not those that are reported on the day – as explained in the original 18th August article these are reported incorrectly on delayed trades and so have to be corrected via a graphical inspection of the real trading patterns, once the data is properly time-ordered. This is done with the assistance of LTH’s who have revealed their trades, and following on from the short, confirmed LTH Buys are highlighted in pink in the above table.

The real pattern becomes blindingly obvious when the trades for the day are graphed:

If we look in greater detail at the period between 2:20pm and 3:40pm we can analyse each trade in the short individually:

The 14:41:09 Sell of 100K seems to have alerted the Market Makers to the possibility of a short attack as it appears that they immediately dropped the Bid to 9.00p. Sells of 250K and 100K followed – offset by a 200K Buy by a PI at 9.19p but it appears the Ask did not drop until after a second PI buy of 200K at 9.375p. Further Short Sells of 150K and 200K followed within 2 minutes of this and the Ask dropped, advertising a sale of cut-price shares to the rest of the market.

PI buying picked up a little after 3:04pm, following the drop in Ask two minutes earlier, but the shorter persisted in an attempt to lower the share price – one further sell at 50K at 3:07pm didn’t seem to do it so they followed up with another 150K sell a minute later – this time the MMs responded by giving them even less for the shares – dropping the Bid and Ask down another quarter of a pence. Naturally PIs said “yes please, I’ll have shares at less than 9p !”.

One further Sell of 100K at 8.7925p at 3:11pm and the shorters were out of nerve (not cash of course – they actually get cash by selling shares at giveaway prices – their problems of course start when they need to deliver those shares). At this point big PI buyers stepped in; NickDerby with a 250K buy at 8.94p – narrowly beating Knuttie, who then had to pay 9.075p only 90 seconds later.

We can see exactly how this short, and its PI response;

… compare with that of the 18th August;

You can see that the total size of the shorts are not that different – 1.1M approximately for both in the initial phase. However the speed of the recent PI response is even quicker and more decisive this time around. Whilst the 18th August short was marginally successful in prompting PI sells (approx 120K sells for a short of 1.2M) it appears that this Friday’s short could not even do that – and the nett trade position counted from the start of the short never even went below minus half a million.

It would seem that the shorter’s modus operandi is essentially identical to that of the 18th August – further reinforcing the belief that this is a highly organised short, rather than a rag-tag army of independent’s “concerned about the company’s position” all acting without coordination. Furthermore PI’s have demonstrated even more decisively that they understand exactly what is going on in situations like this, and are even more capable of defending against this than they clearly were able to on the 18th of August.

Further articles will follow, summarising exactly how the 18th August short played out in the days and weeks after.

This article only conveys the personal opinion of the author. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the content is accurate, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the data shown. This article does not constitute professional, financial or investment advice and must not be used as a basis for making investment decisions.

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