Short interest in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) rose by 23% in the two-week reporting period ended August 31. Some 48.11 million Apple shares were short, about 0.9% of the company’s float. Days to cover was two at average daily volume of about 27.7 million shares traded.
After a drop of more than a million shares in short interest in the prior period, short sellers hopped back in during the final two weeks of August, pushing Apple back up in the rankings of the most shorted Nasdaq stocks.
Short interest in Apple hit a 12-month high of 60.1 million in the first half of September 2016 and a 12-month low of 39.12 million in the first half of July. Short interest has increased by about 1% for the year to date.
Shares traded near the stock’s 52-week high on Tuesday before closing at $160.82, in a 52-week range of $102.53 to $164.94. Since January 3, shares have added 38.5%.
On Tuesday, Apple introduced three new iPhones, a new Apple Watch Series 3 and its fifth-generation Apple TV with 4K and HDR. The company’s stock traded up about 1% before the product announcements and ended up closing out the day with a small loss.
While that may appear counterintuitive, with the exception of the initial launch of the iPhone in 2007, investors have been cool to the company’s stock on the day new iPhones are introduced and for a few days thereafter. It is as if everyone is waiting to see what the “smart” money has to say about the announcement and whether consumers will flock to them during the coming holiday season.
Apple stock traded down about 0.6% Wednesday morning at $159.98. The consensus 12-month price target is $171.95, with a high target of $208 per share. If the stock rises to around $200, Apple’s market cap will top $1 trillion, the first publicly traded company to reach that level.