Opko Health Inc.’s (NASDAQ: OPK) short interest increased around 2% from in the previous period to more than 77.81 million shares on the most recent settlement date. That was the second greatest number of shares short since the beginning of the year, as well as 23.3% of the total float. The daily average volume decreased during the two weeks, lifting the days to cover number from about 17 to a little more than 20.
For well more than a year, the CEO frequently has bought batches of Opko shares. The stock closed most recently at $6.26 a share, in a 52-week trading range of $5.85 to $12.15. During the two-week short-interest period, the share price increased about 5%, though it pulled back somewhat afterward. The share price now is about 21% lower than it was six months ago.
Short interest at Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SGYP) totaled about 67.57 million shares on August 31, which was almost 7% higher than on the prior settlement date. It represented a whopping 30.1% of the total float and was the greatest number of shares short since April. The days to cover jumped from around 10 to more than 23 during the latest period as the average daily volume shrank.
This biopharmaceutical company is focused on treatments for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Short sellers watched the stock rise more than 6% then give up about half that gain during those two weeks. The most recent closing share price was $2.84, which is more than 46% lower than six months ago. The shares have traded hands between $2.63 and $7.15 apiece in the past year.
The number of Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) shares short totaled more than 66.56 million at the end of the month. That was a gain of more than 46% from two weeks earlier, and it was the greatest level of short interest since June. The most recent figure represented 1.4% of the total float. At the posted average daily trading volume, it would take about five days to cover all short positions.
Comcast is among the top dividend stock picks at Merrill Lynch. Short sellers watched its stock retreat more than 2% in the most recent period, and it has pulled back even further since then. Tuesday’s closing share price was $37.90, which is up more than 9% year to date. In the past year, the shares have traded between $30.02 and $42.18 apiece.
Rounding out the top 10 were Delcath Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: DCTH), Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX), Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). The big movers here were Micron and Apple, with a double-digit percentage decline in the former and an even bigger gain in the latter, in the weeks leading up to the much anticipated launch of the new iPhones.
Tech giants Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) also saw sizable growth in their short interest, but not quite enough to lift them into the list of the top 10 most shorted Nasdaq stocks by the settlement date. Others just beyond the spotlight of the top 10 included Oclaro Inc. (NASDAQ: OCLR) and Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX).