Why are short sellers attacking SIRIUS XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) harder and harder? This morning when we saw the short interest reports on about 300 companies, SIRIUS XM did not stand out at all on the surface. There was a 3.9% gain from mid-March to the end of March and that was after a 3.1% gain in Mid-March compared to the end of February. So, no big deal? Wrong. It is probably getting harder to find shares to borrow to short. SIRIUS XM is actually at a 52-week high for its short interest count.
At the end of 2010, SIRIUS XM had a short interest of just over 213 million shares. While there have been a couple minor regressions, this is now up to more than 265 million shares in the short interest. That is a high in the short interest for an entire year back.
SIRIUS XM just got permission to finally close its Canadian merger to join both SIRIUS and XM up north with our northern neighbors. News also came out about Mel Karmazin’s pay and the change of control procedures and the addition of board members. Blah-blah! Doesn’t matter.
Pandora wants to come public as a competitor and shares are back up to $1.81 versus a 52-week range of $0.86 to $1.88. Despite the short interest being so high, shares even closed up 1.7% for the day when both the DJIA and the NASDAQ had right at a 1% loss.
We pointed out “ten hidden gems in the SIRIUS XM annual report” and the “Canadian transaction was one that we both highlighted and had forgotten about when we published.
Where this gets a tad more interesting is that the SIRIUS XM short interest has a day-to-cover ratio of 5.81 days. The prior highs were both over 6-days… Still, a bunch of someones are increasing their pessimism against Mel Karmazin and friends. Maybe it is that the Howard Stern relations aren’t as good as what SIRIUS XM investors thought they were at the end of December.
And to make things even stranger, there is a very low open interest in all those stock options of puts and calls alike in the near-months.
JON C. OGG