Short interest in bank-related stocks traded on the New York and American stock exchanges grew 3.1% in the month ending Oct. 13, while total short positions in stocks traded on the exchanges shrank.

The growth in bank short interest was mostly attributable to sophisticated hedging strategies related to pending bank mergers, analysts said. But some said a possible rationale for the traditional form of short- selling, predicated on a negative view of an industry, may have crept back into the market.

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