The nearly eight-year old bull market marches on, with markets recently hitting all-time highs. And how are short sellers reacting? Judging by the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq, overall those short sellers are enthusiastic. Moves in those shorted stocks were mostly positive between the January 31 and February 15 settlement dates.
That was most notable with Intel, which saw a double-digit percentage gain in the number of its shares sold short. Bucking the trend was the king of the hill, Sirius XM, with a modest decline in its short interest.
Note that now four Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short, as of the middle of the month. However, two of them remain very far ahead of the pack.
The approximately 249.35 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short by the end of January was more than 2% lower than on the previous settlement date, as well as the lowest level of short interest since October. Some 15.1% of the company’s float was sold short most recently. The days to cover declined from more than 13 to less than 12 as the average daily trading volume bounced back from a 52-week low.
Sirius shares hit a new high after its latest earnings report. The stock ended the short interest period more than 3% higher, most of that gain coming at the end of the two weeks. The Nasdaq also was up more than 3% between the settlement dates. The stock is currently trading more than 16% higher year to date. It closed Monday at $5.18 a share, in a 52-week range of $3.67 to $5.22.
After pulling back for three periods in a row, the number of shares short in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) rose more than 5% to almost 231.08 million as of the most recent settlement date. That was 19.9% of the telecom’s float, as well as the 12th consecutive period with more than 200 million shares short. The days to cover dropped from more than 15 to more than 11 on rising daily average volume.
Frontier did not raise its dividend during the period, as some had speculated might happen. In the first two weeks of the month, short sellers watched the shares drop more than 7% but then recover a little to end the period to about 5% lower. The stock has recovered a bit more since then and closed most recently at $3.29. Shares have changed hands between $3.10 and $5.85 apiece in the past year.
By the middle of the month, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 105.63 million shares short. That was up from more than 99.90 million on the previous settlement date. It was the fifth period in a row of rising short interest, as well as 13.6% of the company’s float. At the latest average daily volume, it still would take a little more than a day to cover all short positions.
Investors were pleased by AMD’s revenue prospects, and the February 15 share price was more than 28% higher than on the previous settlement date. It continued to climb after the period, and the stock reached a new 52-week high of $15.35 on Monday. It closed at $15.20, and the 52-week low is all the way down at $2.03.