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How can I best use short interest data to aid in the selection of a long position?

On one hand, a low short interest ratio would seem to indicate that there is not a lot of sentiment that the price will decline. On the other hand, a high short ratio is viewed by some as a bullish condition since the resulting sales to cover the short positions would drive up the price of the stock.

Or, is short selling mainly an arbitrage tool which has little if any effect on long term performance?

I would appreciate your feedback.
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