The 10 Most Heavily Shorted Stocks Against Their Float

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24/7 Wall St. reviews many short interest changes throughout the month. What generally stands out the most is when there are big short interest trend changes, such as seeing that high-yield dividend stocks were attacked hard. Another issue that stands out like a sore thumb is the list of companies whose shares are the most heavily shorted of all based upon the percentage of the float.

It is these stocks with high percentages of their float that can be among the most volatile. In fact, sometimes these stocks will rally on news that still sounds bad because short sellers get forced into fleeing. Sometimes the news was just expected to be even worse.

We have reviewed the change in the short interest for mid-September versus the end of August. The key feature here is the percentage of the total float that is listed as short. We have also added in pricing data, days to cover, and other color if applicable.

Blyth, Inc. (NYSE: BTH) traded at just above $12 and its 52-week range is $8.65 to $34.56. Its market cap is now down under $200 million because its stock has been hit so hard. The direct to consumer marketing company saw its short interest rise yet again to 5,567,293 shares in mid-September versus 5,407,179 shares at the last report. Its short interest is a whopping 76.6% of the float and represents some 12 days to cover,

ITT Educational Services, Inc. (NYSE: ESI) remains under a negative cloud that just will not go away. Its short interest fell only 1.4% to 8,210,463 shares from 8,325,263 shares. Unfortunately, that is still some 55.7% of its float that is short. Another scary metric is that this represents a ratio of 25 days to cover.

U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: SLCA) in mining commercial silica for the oil and gas sector and for industrial uses. Its short interest rose by 4% in mid-September to 14,250,703 shares, but this is now up to 40% of its float. It is also about 14 days to cover.

RadioShack Corporation (NYSE: RSH) remains a mystery. What can it do to turn around? Somehow, its shares are back up close to $4 again. It posted only a 1% rise in its short interest to 37,544,285 shares short, but this now represents some 38.6% of its float in the short interest. The days to cover is also high at 11.

Beazer Homes USA, Inc. (NYSE: BZH) was somewhat surprising to see on the list. Its short interest of 9,504,740 was actually down by less than 1% from the end of August. Still, it represents some 38.5% of the float that is short and is 11 days to cover. Rising rate fears?

Molycorp, Inc. (NYSE: MCP) remains an ongoing short seller fight. The rare earths leader in America did manage to see a small drop of 1.5% in the short interest to 47,947,561 shares. That may sound good on the surface, but this is still about 35.7% of its float and represents 9 days to cover. As long as rare earth minerals remain challenged and remain controversial, Molycorp will be a heavily shorted stock.

Western Refining Inc. (NYSE: WNR) is a $2.4 billion refining outfit, and for some reason its shares have rallied after the short interest was released. This may be a short selling attack because of a proposed spin-off. The short interest did drop again by almost 1% but it remains incredibly high at 18,799,801 million shares. We also see that some 35.7% of its float is in the short interest, and it has 18 days to cover.

Walter Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WLT) is in the hated coal sector, but at least it is into metallurgical coal. We saw that its short interest fell by 1.5% down to 21,592,688 shares, and this short interest is down from almost 29 million shares just at the end of July. This still represents some 34.8% of the float that is short, but it represents only about 3 das to cover since it is so actively traded.

InterOil Corporation (NYSE: IOC) has been extremely volatile as shares are around $71 and its 52-week range is $50.90 to $106.44. This remains a highly controversial stock and some investors question its value. Its short interest did manage to fall by just over 0.5% down to 12,347,296 shares, but this is still 34.6% of its float that is short. It also carries a whopping 29 days to cover.

GenCorp Inc. (NYSE: GY) has risen handily and short sellers remain active in this aerospace and defense products outfit. Maybe its rocket propulsion risks are subject to spending cuts and sequestration. The short interest did manage to fall almost 5% down to 19,352,496 shares, but that is after months and months of rising short interest and it is still the second highest reading going a year back. This represents some 34.6% of the float that is short and it is at an unbelievable 41 days to cover.

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