2 Short Seller Favorites Hit New Highs on Earnings

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We are a couple of weeks into the new administration, and the markets have pulled back somewhat from recent highs. Short sellers may be keeping an eye on two of their favorite stocks in the days ahead, because Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: BAC) and Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI), have hit new 52-week highs. These are two of the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq.

Between the December 30 and January 13 settlement dates, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 88.62 million shares short. That was up from more than 86.61 million in the previous period. Also it was the third period in a row of rising short interest, as well as 11.4% of the company’s float. At the latest average daily volume, it still would take about two days to cover all short positions.

AMD shares did very well in 2016, but the mid-month share price was more than 6% lower than on the previous settlement date, most of that decline coming at the end of the period. However, the stock reached a new 52-week high of $12.66 on Thursday, after posting better-than-expected fourth-quarter results earlier in the week. The 52-week low is all the way down at $1.81. The stock has a consensus price target of $10.96.

The more than 265.87 million Sirius XM shares short by the middle of January was around 5% lower than on the previous settlement date, as well as the lowest level of short interest since October. Some 16.1% of the company’s float was sold short most recently. The days to cover dropped from almost 14 to around nine as the average daily trading volume picked up.

Sirius said during the period that it had exceeded it subscriber guidance for 2016. Its shares ended the two-week period more than 3% higher, most of that gain coming in the first few days of the year. The Nasdaq was up about the same amount between the settlement dates. Year to date, Sirius shares have risen more than 6% to hit a new 52-week high of $4.82 late Thursday, also on its latest earnings report. The 52-week low is $3.29, and the consensus analyst target is $5.01.