Several U.S. bank and thrift stocks saw substantialdrops in short interest in early March.
Short interest in People's United Financial Inc. fell 222 basis points duringthe period between Feb. 29 and March 15, to 12.09% from 14.32%. This notabledrop follows a more than300-basis-point increase during the period between Feb. 12 and Feb.29. Moody's on March 14 placed the long-term ratings of the Bridgeport,Conn.-based company and unit People'sUnited Bank NA onreview for downgrade.
YadkinFinancial Corp. experienced the biggest decline in short interestduring the period between Feb. 29 and March 15, down 458 basis points to 4.55%of shares outstanding from 9.14%. The Raleigh, N.C.-based company on March 1completed itsacquisition of Greensboro, N.C.-based NewBridgeBancorp.
German AmericanBancorp Inc. also saw a considerable decrease in short interestduring the period, dropping 288 basis points to 2.54% from 5.42%. The Jasper, Ind.-based company disclosed March 1 that it its acquisition of Madison,Ind.-based River Valley Bancorp.
On the other hand, short interest in Allentown,Pa.-based National Penn BancsharesInc. spiked 235 basis points and short interest in Blacksburg,Va.-based National Bankshares Inc.jumped 205 basis points in early March.
BofI HoldingInc. kept its spot as the most-shorted stock, with 37.48% of sharessold short as of March 15, down from 38.65% at Feb. 29. The SanDiego-based company disclosed March 14 that an independent , conducted by law firmDentons US LLP at the request of the audit committee of BofI's board ofdirectors, into a lawsuit filed by former BofI Federal Bank employee Charles Erhart found nosupport for allegations of illegal practices at the company.