http://www.fallstreet.com/feb2503.php February 25, 2003 How long will it take the NYSE to figure out that their stats are wrong? Last week the NYSE reported that short selling interest inched higher, from roughly 7.620 billion shares short to 7.668 shares. Quite frankly, this data - much to the dismay of those who like to blame shorts for every market decline - tells us that shorts may be about to jump into the markets. After all, short interest stood at a record 8.2 billion shares back in October. Even more surprising than the stagnate shares short number (which may or may not be accurate) was the NYSE approved stat for short interest as a percentage of outstanding shares, which slipped from 2.2% on January 10 to 1.4% on February 11. As mention last Friday, this data makes no sense. To be sure, if this data were accurate the total number of outstanding shares jumped by more than 200 billion shares from January to February (there is no need to look at how many IPOâs were filed and/or whether or not the NYSE included a MSFT split before the fact -- 201 billion news shares did not come to the market last month.) In sum, the NYSE data is wrong: either the total shares outstanding data for the last 3 years has to be fixed or Februaryâs number has to be fixed. The NYSE should have corrected this gaffe on Monday morning (no harm done), but that they donât have it fixed by now (Tuesday) is laughable. Perhaps Mr. Grasso has been to busy organizing compensation checks (that he sometimes forgets to file) to notice this oversight? Perhaps the NYSE is busy preparing to rig the rules so the markets wonât drop following an unexpected Iraqi development? Whatever the case may be, a NYSE statistician could soon be looking for work.