Short Sellers Smarten Up Against Technology Titans

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Short sellers may have many reasons to be short a stock. One reason could be as a hedge against other positions, but often this is simply because short sellers are betting against a stock near-term or long-term. With technology shares remaining in high interest, 24/7 Wall St. has decided to look at the short interest among the major technology stocks.

We have reviewed these short selling trends comparing the May 30 and May 15 settlement dates. We have also added color if applicable, and this major tech report is not counting any of the chip stocks, as they have been covered in a separate short interest report.

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) may have pulled back from its peak in price, but short sellers remain aggressive. The May 30 short interest was some 6,777,060 shares, versus the slightly higher 6,813,633 shares in the mid-May short interest. That middle of the month reading was the highest of 2014, and the change is too small to count as a drop, particularly when you consider that the days to cover rose to 2.025 days from 1.651 in the period.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is more than a bit interesting because the stock had been rising ahead of that seven-for-one stock split. That split has now been effected, and that is not accounted for in this current report as Nasdaq is using the old number of shares since the split was after the May 30 date. Apple also had too small of a change to notice at 16,805,167 shares short at the end of May versus 16,857,739 in mid-May. The short interest peaked at more than 26 million shares in mid-February, and this was the fourth consecutive drop in the number of shares short.

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Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) saw a significant drop in its short interest. A good earnings report will often do that, shaking out the short sellers. Cisco’s short interest was 65,847,388 shares on May 30, down a sharp 13% from the 75,663,677 shares short in mid-May. This was the lowest short interest since the end of January.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is one we are not as certain on evaluating longer term since the company split the shares into two classes. That being said, there was a major change in the short interest. The May 30 short interest rose to 3.949 million shares, versus 3.087 million shares short in mid-May. This is a gain of 28% in short selling activity, and it is the highest reading since the end of January.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has seen a gradual decline in the short interest, an indication that maybe short sellers are not being as aggressive against Satya Nadella as they were with Steve Ballmer at the helm. The May 30 short interest was 77.254 million shares, versus the 79.466 million shares short on the May 15 settlement date. That is a drop of 2.8%, but this was the lowest reading since the end of January.

Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) saw its short interest fall by 3.2% to 33,830,169 shares as of May 30, versus 34,943,513 shares as of May 15. It seems that, like Cisco, short sellers got out of the way of a rally here. This was the second lowest short interest going back to the end of January.

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