After bouncing around at mostly low levels in November, December saw AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. fails to deliver soar to over 400,000.
AMC registered 405,523 shares as failed to deliver as of December 14th, the last day in the data set just released by the SEC. This represents a nearly 70-fold increase from the last reporting period.
Shares fail to deliver when a trade is not closed out properly. This can happen for benign reasons, like administrative errors.
But when there is a persistent pattern of high fails to deliver, as we saw through much of 2021, they can be a sign of something more nefarious. Naked short selling, or selling short shares one does not own, can cause huge fails to deliver.
The shares are never delivered because they never existed in the first place! This illegal trade is a powerful way to push down a stock’s price.
Sure enough, as fails to deliver mounted in the first half of December, we see a steady decline in AMC’s share price. Shares fell 14% in less than 2 weeks.
AMC’s fails to deliver are completely out of line compared to other stocks. Much larger companies like Amazon (43), Apple (36,407) and Microsoft (0) had only a tiny fraction as many fails to deliver at the end of the reporting period.
Maybe nothing inappropriate is happening here. But I’d like to see the SEC investigate it and find out, rather than just releasing the same shocking data month after month with a shrug.
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