Wall Street's bears have turned more cautious recently, despite the market's pullback since mid-May.
Short interest on the New York Stock Exchange--the number of shares borrowed and sold, usually in a bet on lower prices--rose 1.2% from mid-May to mid-June, the smallest increase this year, the NYSE said Thursday.
Total short interest was 5.58 billion shares as of June 15, up 64.6 million shares from mid-May.
Bearish traders had sharply boosted their short selling of NYSE stocks between mid-February and mid-April amid the market's steep decline. NYSE short interest rose 3.3% between mid-February and mid-March and shot up 7.2% between mid-March and mid-April.
Even as the market rallied between mid-April and mid-May NYSE short interest rose 2.5%.
But stocks' weakness since mid-May--the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2.8% from May 15 to June 15--wasn't accompanied by the same short-selling fervor of winter and early spring. That could mean that more bears believe stocks are poised to rally.