As summer began to wind to a close, short selling perked up, at least among the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq. The stock at the top of that list, Sirius XM, bucked the trend, but perhaps of more interest was that Apple crept back into the top 10 between the August 15 and August 31 settlement dates. This only a couple of weeks before the unveiling of the new iPhones.
In addition, Comcast saw the biggest upswing in the number of shares short among those featured here, and so it moved up the list. Also note that still just three Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short as of the end of August.
The almost 237.42 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short after the final two weeks of last month was around 14 million less than on the previous settlement date, as well as the smallest number of shares short so far this year. The latest reading represented 16.5% of the total float. As the average daily volume declined in the period, the days to cover rose from more than 13 to about 17.
Warren Buffett reportedly has trimmed his stake in Sirius. The stock ended the short interest period more than 2% higher than where it began it, though it was down around 2% at one point in the interval. The Nasdaq rose less than 2% by the settlement date. The shares closed most recently at $5.59 apiece. They hit a new 52-week high of $5.89 near the end of July, and the 52-week low of $4.05 was seen last fall.
By the end of August, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 149.04 million shares short. That was a rise of nearly 1% from the total on the previous settlement date, and it reclaimed much of the decline in the previous period. The most recent reading represented 16.9% of the company’s float. It would take more than three days to cover all short positions.
AMD has gotten more aggressive about taking on Intel. The August 31 share price was about the same as on the previous settlement date, though the shares had been down more than 7% at one point. The stock closed on Tuesday at $12.30, which is almost 14% lower than six months ago. Shares have changed hands between $5.66 and $15.65 apiece in the past year.
Almost 110.03 million Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) shares were sold short as of the latest settlement date. Short interest grew around 9% during the period — for the second period in a row — to the greatest number of shares short in the past year. That represented 2.3% of the company’s float. As of the latest settlement date, it would take more than five days to cover all short positions.
Intel was a top tech stock pick at UBS during the period. Though its shares ended the short interest period less than 3% lower, they have regained that ground since then. The most recent close at $36.09 a share compares to a 52-week trading range of $33.23 and $38.45, and it is in the same ballpark as at the share price at the beginning of the year.