Short Interest in Solar Stocks Rises Even as Share Prices Drop

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Short interest in solar stocks generally rose during the two-week period to October 15. Three of the four non-bankrupt companies we have followed saw short interest grow during period, and share prices fell fairly steeply in all four.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) saw short interest rise by 10% to 9.03 million shares, which represents 12.3% of the company’s float, and the days to cover fell to three. In the two-week short interest period to October 15, shares fell dropped 21%, but they remain up about 3.3% year-to-date through Friday’s close at $56.44. The stock’s 52-week range is $47.04 to $74.84.

SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE) showed an increase of 3.9% in short interest to 67.69 million shares. About 25.3% of the company’s stock is now short and the days to cover fell to four. In the latest short interest reporting period, shares fell nearly 24%, but they are up nearly 16% year-to-date through Friday’s close. The stock closed at $18.87 last week, in a 52-week range of $8.91to $24.35.

SunPower Corp.‘s (NASDAQ: SPWR) short interest declined to 9.96 million shares, or 19.1% of the company’s float. Days to cover fell to three. In the two-week period, shares fell about 20%, but they are up about 5% year-to-date, after closing at $31.26 on Friday. The stock’s 52-week range is $25.38 to $42.07.

SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) saw a short interest rise of 10.7% to 15.28 million shares, or 29% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained unchanged at three. In the short interest period, shares slipped about 20% and are down about 4.5% year-to-date through Friday’s close. The stock’s 52-week range is $42.38 to $88.35, and shares closed at $54.25 last week.

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GT Advanced Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: GTAT) surprised just about everyone when it announced that the company had filed for bankruptcy protection on October 6. The company has shut down its sapphire production and has asked the bankruptcy court to keep confidential certain documents related to the filing.

Last Thursday GT and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reached an agreement on how to wind down operations at the GT plant in Arizona that Apple and GT had jointly developed. GT is expected to file the Apple settlement agreement with the bankruptcy court Monday, seeking approval for the deal. Details are scarce because the agreement depends on receiving a court order that would require striking all records of GT’s description of its bankruptcy from the court record. According to The Wall Street Journal, anyone in possession of copies of the documents will be required to destroy them.

For what it is worth, short interest in GT fell more than 36% in the two-week period to October 15. About 38.9 million shares were held short, and shares closed at $0.44 on Friday after more than 52 million shares had changed hands. Average daily volume is about 25 million shares traded.

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