Why These 3 Companies Just Saw Their Short Interest Double

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The latest short interest data shows that short sellers piled on to the three stocks featured here between the October 13 and October 31 settlement dates. This was as the market’s bull run is approaching nine years old, yet the markets have continued to reach new all-time highs.

Disappointing earnings were the big news during the period for two of these companies, while the other saw a prominent bear change his tune as the company moves into new and potentially risky direction.

Barclays

By the end of October, Barclays PLC (NYSE: BCS) had more than 4.55 million shares short, up from a total of around 2.09 million on the previous settlement date. But note that it would take less than a day to cover all short positions at the most recently posted average trading volume.

Shares plunged after the London-based bank posted disappointing third-quarter results. The October 31 share price was more than 3% lower in New York trading than on the previous settlement date, though the shares were down almost 7% at one point. The stock closed trading on most recently at $9.44. Shares have changed hands at between $9.32 and $12.05 apiece in the past year.

Overstock.com

Short interest at Overstock.com Inc. (NASDAQ: OSTK) totaled over 5.16 million shares on October 31, after a gain more than 108% from on the prior settlement date. That represented a whopping 31.6% of the total float and was by far the greatest level of short interest so far this year. The days to cover remained less than two during the latest period even though the average daily volume rose to a 52-week high.

Short-seller Marc Cohodes revealed a big stake in this online retailer in the period, citing the potential of its blockchain unit. Short sellers watched the stock surge more than 57% in the short interest period. The most recent closing share price was $52.40. The shares have changed hands between $13.75 and $52.95 apiece in the past year.

Textron

The more than 7.17 million Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) shares short after the two weeks to October 31 were more than double the figure on the previous settlement date. That represented 2.7% of the total float. At the average daily volume at the end of the period, it would take about four days to cover all the short positions.

Late last month, this aerospace and defense company posted mixed quarterly results and lowered its guidance. The stock ended the short interest period about 1% lower than where it began it, though it had been up more than 2% earlier in the period. The S&P 500 rose less than 1% between the settlement dates. Textron shares closed most recently at $54.40 apiece, in a 52-week trading range of $40.16 and $55.80.