Shorts Are in Play Among Heavily Traded Stocks (GE, NOK, BAC, VZ, ANR, MCD, AAPL, BBRY, MSFT, DELL, GMCR, CSCO)

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We have tracked the key short interest changes as of March 15 in the following large cap stocks: General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR), McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), Research In Motion Ltd. (BlackBerry) (NASDAQ: BBRY), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) and Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO).

Short interest in General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) rose 9.7% to 86.94 million shares. About 0.8% of GE’s float is now short.

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) saw short interest fall by 3.4% to 326.65 million shares, or about 8.7% of the company’s total float.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) short interest fell 3.4% to 155.76 million shares, which represents 1.5% of the company’s float.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) saw a 0.4% drop in short interest to 60.96 million shares, which is about 2.1% of the total float.

Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: ANR) showed a drop of 11.5% in short interest to 28.24 million shares, or about 13% of Alpha’s float.

McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) showed a drop of 4.9% in short interest to 13.49 million shares, about 1.3% of the company’s float.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) saw a short interest rise by 5.5% to 20.5 million shares, or 2.2% of the company’s float.

BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) saw short interest rise by 5.3% to 155.01 million shares, or 31.4% of the total float. Short interest continues to be reported under the company’s previous name, Research in Motion, but the stock symbol has been changed to BBRY.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) posted a 10.2% rise in short interest, to 107.82 million shares. That is about 1.4% of Microsoft’s float.

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) short interest rose by 32.8% to 38.47 million shares, or about 2.6% of the company’s float.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) saw short interest increase by 10.3% to 33.99 million shares, or 27.9% of the company’s float.

Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) saw it short interest rise by 0.5% to 61.81 million shares, which was about 1.2% of the company’s float.

Short interest in Dell leaped more than 30% in the first two weeks of March. The stock has been trading above the buyout bid offered by Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners, so the short bet has been that there would be no substantive counter bid. However, at least two counter offers appear to be on the horizon, so it is not unlikely that the short positions will pull back.

Nearly a third of BlackBerry’s stock is now held short, and given company’s lackluster performance at last week’s U.S. launch of the Z10, it is not unreasonable to assume that the shorts will continue to flow in.

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