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These were the worst-performing ASX 200 shares last week

A strong finish to the week meant the S&P/ASX 200 index ended it with the smallest of gains.

The benchmark index ended the period 0.2 points higher than where it started it at 6,821.7 points.

Not all shares were pushing higher last week, though. Here’s why these ASX 200 shares were the worst performers on the index:

The Orocobre Limited (ASX: ORE) share price was the worst performer on the index with a decline of 4.4%. Investors were selling the lithium miner’s shares despite there being no news out of it. However, Orocobre is one of the most shorted shares on the Australian share market. So this sort of decline is not unusual. Short sellers have been targeting the company due to the collapse in the lithium price due to softening demand and growing supply.

The Nearmap Ltd (ASX: NEA) share price wasn’t far behind with a 3.8% decline last week. The aerial imagery technology and location data company is another which has been targeted by short sellers. They appear concerned by growing competition and its higher operating costs. At the last count, Nearmap had 11% of its shares held short.

The Austal Limited (ASX: ASB) share price fell 3.2% last week on the back of no news. This decline could have been down to some end of year profit taking from investors. After all, the shipbuilder’s shares have been very strong performers in 2019 thanks to a series of major contract wins. Even after this week’s decline, Austal’s shares have more than doubled in value since the start of the year.

The Cimic Group Ltd (ASX: CIM) share price was out of form and fell 2.6% over the period. Investors responded negatively to news that its infrastructure services business, Ventia, signed an agreement with Ferrovial S.A. to purchase Broadspectrum for an equity value of A$485 million. Broadspectrum, which was previously known as Transfield Services, is an Australian services company which was founded in 1956.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Nearmap Ltd. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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