Short sellers got out of the way as AT&T’s merger with DirecTV wound to a close, but the big drop in short interest was not enough to remove AT&T from the list of the most shorted stocks trading on the New York Stock Exchange between the July 15 and July 31 settlement dates. However, Sprint and Transocean both saw significant increases in the numbers of their shares short.
Note that the top six most shorted NYSE stocks all had more than 110,000 shares short at the end of the most recent two-week settlement period.
There was about a 2% rise in the number of Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) shares short, the third consecutive period of growing short interest. The end of the month reading was around 215.85 million shares, but that was down from a year-to-date peak of nearly 250,000 back in April. At the current average daily volume, it would take around seven days to cover all short positions. A second-quarter earnings beat failed to impress. Vale shares ended the two-week short-interest period more than 7% lower, while the S&P 500 was essentially flat in that time. Vale closed most recently at $5.32, in a 52-week trading range of $4.91 to $14.12.
After rising since the end of May, short interest in Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) added another 3.7% to around 201.34 million shares late last month. That was 30.7% of the company’s float, and the days to cover slipped to about eight. The stock caught an upgrade after the period ended, even though the share price dropped about 23% between the settlement dates. It has recovered a little since and closed at $8.21 on Tuesday. The 52-week high of $27.24 was reached almost a year ago, and the $6.85 low was seen last week.