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A passerby pushes past 'From the Ground Up,' the new book by Howard Schultz. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Former Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz's "60 Minutes" interview and a recent New York City book event to promote an expected presidential run have short sellers lining up to bet on the company's fall.

What's happening: Short sellers added 2.5 million shares, or 6.78%, to bets against Starbucks over the last week. Short interest is now $2.7 billion, with 39.21 million shares shorted, according to data firm S3 Partners.

  • "We are seeing continued active short selling ... in response to the Schultz announcement," Ihor Dusaniwsky, S3 Partners' managing director of predictive analytics, said Thursday.

Starbucks continues to be most shorted stock in S3's restaurant sector, making up almost half the total increase of the sector's short interest.

Still standing: Despite its growing popularity, betting against Starbucks has not been a profitable trade. The stock rose 1.14% over the last week and shorting the stock has been the second most unprofitable short behind Chipotle Mexican Grill with $167 million of losses this year.

Yes, but: Dusaniwsky points out that even without Schultz's antics, Starbucks is fighting an uphill battle. Same store sales growth has been lagging and the large size of the company, coupled with saturation of the product makes continuing to exceed analysts’ growth and revenue targets a difficult task.

  • "Increased stock buybacks and dividend growth are an attractive carrot for long shareholders, but unless international growth kicks into high gear, Starbucks' valuation relative to its sector brethren may seem like paying Venti prices for a Grande product."

Go deeper

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.