Beyond Meat Inc. is one of the standout stock market stories of 2019. Since listing on the Nasdaq on May 1 at $25 per share, the meat alternatives maker has seen wild price swings but now trades almost 500% higher.
Source: Beyond Meat
Many investors have been drawn in by the company's pitch of providing a healthier and more sustainable option to burgers, sausages and other meat products. The trend has attracted the attention of fast food chains, grocers and food processors alike.
Yet it appears there is a growing rank of sceptics, too. Our story this week shows that just under 10% of Beyond Meat's stock is out on loan to short sellers, placing it among the most shorted of 2019 IPOs. According to financial analytics firm S3 Partners, Beyond Meat has the highest borrow fee of all U.S. stocks so far this year.
Despite its rapid ascent as a publicly traded equity, Beyond Meat's balance sheet remains more akin to that of a venture capital bet. In late July it reported a 287% increase in second quarter sales to $67.3 million but recorded a GAAP net loss of $9.44 million that was worse than analysts had anticipated. Since then its share price has slumped from $234.90 to about $145 — still a hefty premium to its IPO price. But with such volatility, short-seller interest is likely to remain a feature of the Beyond Meat story for some time.
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Beyond Meat is among the most shorted stocks of all the companies to have gone public in 2019.
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Consumer Edge is a weekly collection of critical developments across the automotive; retail; and food, beverage, and tobacco industries. Drawing on exclusive analysis and value-added content from the Consumer News team at S&P Global Market Intelligence, it is published every Thursday.