Perhaps it was the summer heat, but the moves in the six most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq between July 14 and July 31 suggest that short sellers still were not sure on what to make of major indexes remaining near all-time highs even though the bull run is well more than eight years old now. The short interest swings were mixed but mostly mild.
Bucking the trend in the final two weeks of last month was the largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue, as short sellers got out of the way, allowing it to slip out of the top six. The number one on the list saw a gain of more than 10 million shares short, though that was just a little more than 4%.
Also note that only two Nasdaq stocks still had more than 100 million shares short as of the end of July.
The almost 266.52 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short by the end of last month was almost 11 million more than on the previous settlement date. That was the greatest number of shares short since March, and it represented 18.5% of the total float. As the average daily volume recovered from a year-to-date low, the days to cover dropped from more than 16, a year-to-date high, to near 11.
Sirius posted record listener base numbers in the period. The stock ended the two weeks about 7% higher than where it began it, though it was down almost 2% at one point in the interval. The Nasdaq rose only fractionally by the settlement date. The shares closed on Wednesday at $5.55 apiece, after hitting a new 52-week high of $5.89 near the end of July. The 52-week low of $4.05 was seen last summer.
By the conclusion of July, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 152.29 million shares short. That was a gain of less than 2% from the total on the previous settlement date, and it followed a 3% short interest rise in the previous period. The most recent reading represented 17.3% of the company’s float. It still would take less than two days to cover all short positions.
Analysts were cautiously optimistic after AMD’s most recent earnings report. The July 31 share price was more than 2% lower than on the previous settlement date, though the shares had been up about 5% a couple of days earlier. The stock closed most recently at $12.83, which is around 13% higher year to date. Shares have changed hands between $5.66 and $15.65 apiece in the past year.
More than 92.38 million Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) shares were sold short as of the latest settlement date. Short interest fell less than 2% during the period to the smallest figure seen since April. It was also some 2.0% of the company’s float. The year to date peak was more than 102 million, reported back in June. As of the latest settlement date, it would take about four days to cover all short positions.
The analyst reaction to Intel’s most recent quarterly numbers was muted. Though the shares ended the short interest period more than 2% higher, it climbed another 3% shortly thereafter. The most recent close at $36.59 a share compares to a 52-week trading range of $33.23 and $38.45, and it is around 3% higher than six months ago.