JD.com short sellers — or investors betting on the company’s stock to fall — made millions last week after CEO Liu Qiangdong was detained in the US over a sexual-misconduct allegation.
Following the news that Liu was arrested over a rape allegation in Minneapolis over Labor Day weekend, JD.com’s stock dropped 14% last week. That generated mark-to-market profits of $153 million for short sellers, according to data from financial analytics firm S3 Partners.
“Short sellers have been selling into JD.com’s price weakness since mid-July with 7 million new shares shorted since July 15, up 23%,” Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of predictive analytics at S3, said in an email.
Overall, short sellers have made $392 million in mark-to-market profits since January, most of which occurred during the second half of the year, Dusaniwsky added. S3 data shows JD.com is now the seventh-largest short in the Hong Kong/China region, with $1.03 billion of short interest.
Last month, JD.com, the second-largest Chinese e-commerce company after Alibaba, posted a loss of $0.23 per share on revenue of $18.5 billion. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting a $0.12 per share gain on revenue of $19.31 billion.
Shares of JD.com are down 38% this year.