WALL STREET: Short Story

To those who chart and prognosticate the course of the stock market, statistical barometers are as essential as riddles were to more classic oracles. One of the most widely noted statistics is the short interest, i.e., sales of borrowed stock* made in expectation of purchasing it later at a lower price. Last week the New York Stock Exchange announced that the short interest had risen by midmonth to 4,460,660 shares, highest since Sept. 11, 1931, partly because of arbitraging following A.T. & T.'s rights offering. The percentage of shares short is far...

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