Short sellers moved out of stocks that have fallen recently. Perhaps they believe there will be a large rally in the market. There is little else to make the shares of companies with poor earnings and poor prospects rise.
Among NYSE stocks, the short interest in AMD (NYSE: AMD) fell 15% to 80.4 million shares. Shares sold short in embattled airline stock AMR (NYSE: AMR), the parent of American Airlines, dropped by 19% to 48.8 million. Rumors suggest the company may declare Chapter 11. Eastman Kodak (NYSE: EK) may also face bankruptcy. Shares short in the company fell 11% to 70.2 million.
Shares short in BP (NYSE: BP) were down 49% to 7 million. The short interest in struggling drug retailer Rite Aide (NYSE: RAD) dropped 11% to 61.1 million. Shares short in its competitor CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) were off 21% to 27.3 million.
In the medical sector, shares short in Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) were down 19% to 39 million. The short interest in Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) fell 10% to 79.3 million.
The same pattern of abandonment of stocks in weak companies held true for Nasdaq-traded shares. The short interest in Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) dropped 23% to 60.6 million. The short interest in Level 3 (NASDAQ: LVLT) fell 8% to 168.6 million. Shares short in News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWSA) dropped 9% to 51.8 million. The short interest in Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) dropped 6% to 80.7 million. Shares short in Affymetrix (NASDAQ: AFFX) fell 32% to 6.0 million.
Notable increases in short interest included troubled wireless broadband company Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR). Shares sold short in the company rose 15% to 47.8 million. The short interest in Southwest Air (NYSE: LUV) was higher by 15% to 25.2 million.
Short interest as of October 14. Data from NYSE and Nasdaq.
Douglas A. McIntyre