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Credit Suisse is under pressure, but short sellers appear to be eyeing another global bank

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Investor anxiety over Credit Suisse has sent its shares tumbling over recent days , but short sellers appear to be eyeing another European bank, data shows. Paris-headquartered BNP Paribas was the most shorted European banking stock as of Monday, with a total of $1.68 billion in bets against the bank’s shares, according to data from S3 Partners. Short-sellers profit when stocks fall. They borrow shares to immediately sell them and plan to buy them back when the price is lower, making a profit from the difference. More than 3.66% of traded shares in BNP Paribas were used to short it — the highest percentage among 17 banks for which data is available, according to the data analytics firm S3. While shares in the French bank have already fallen by 28% this year, most analysts still have a buy rating on BNP Paribas, according to FactSet, with analysts giving the stock an average upside of 52%. Meanwhile, Credit Suisse was the eighth-most shorted European bank, with 2.42% of its floated shares used to bet against it. Shares in the bank pared losses after plunging as much as 10% on Monday. Over the year to date, Credit Suisse shares are down over 55%. The Financial Times reported Monday that the Swiss bank’s executives were in talks with its major investors to reassure them amid rising concerns over the lender’s financial health. In a statement on Monday, Credit Suisse told CNBC that it will provide an update on its strategy review when the bank releases its third-quarter results on Oct. 27. “It would be premature to comment on any potential outcomes before then,” it said. In a separate memo obtained by CNBC, Credit Suisse’s CEO urged people not to confuse “our day-to-day stock price performance with the strong capital base and liquidity position of the bank.” Data shows that the Swiss bank had the second-largest increase in short-selling activity in September, with $167 million being bet against the shares. “With its recent market volatility we should see continue short selling in the stock as traders look to increase their exposure,” a research note from S3 Partners said. Italian investment bank Mediobanca and Germany’s Commerzbank were the second and third most shorted stocks, respectively, according to S3.

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