Short sellers continue to hold huge positions not only in troubled companies like BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY), but also in such tech giants as Intel. As of April 30, the most recent settlement date, short sellers shied away from five of the six most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq, but they all had short positions of more than 95 million shares. For BlackBerry, that was more than 20% of the float, while at Frontier Communications it was about 17%.
The number of Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short decreased by more than 18.3 million in the period to about 215.11 million, or 7.6% of the float. That was on top of a more than 8 million drop in the previous period. It would take about four days to cover all short positions. Sirius XM said it reached a record 25.8 million subscribers in the first quarter.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) had a 10.1% decline in short interest to 182.57 million shares during the period following its solid, if uninspiring first-quarter numbers. That totaled 3.7% of the company’s float, and it was the lowest number of shares short in the past year. The days to cover was less than six.
The short interest in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) dropped 10.5% from the previous period but still came to nearly 169.48 million shares. That followed a 5.4% decline in the number of shares short in the previous period, and it was 17.1% of the telecom’s float. It would take about 12 days to cover all short positions.
Micron Technology Inc.’s (NASDAQ: MU) short interest shrank from around 115.49 million shares to 113.70 million by the end of April, after posting better-than-expected quarterly results. That was still 11.0% of the company’s float. Though one analyst suggested shares could double again, the average daily volume decreased in the period, and the days to cover rose to more than three.
BlackBerry saw its short interest hardly change during the period, ticking down about 1% to more than 101.35 million shares. As mentioned above though, that was 20.8% of the available shares. The average daily volume fell to its lowest level in the past year, pushing up the days to cover to almost 12 in the period.
The number of Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) shares short rose 6.4%, the only gain among those stocks featured here and its highest level in at least a year. The more than 97 million shares short at the end of April represent 6.4% of the float. It would take more than four days to cover all short positions. The response to the biotech company’s most recent earnings report was muted.
Rounding out the top ten were retailer Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS), telecom Windstream Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: WIN), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO). Of these four, only Staples saw an increase in short interest during the period.