Penny stocks, high-fliers, and actively traded low priced stocks are often the favorites for active traders and short sellers alike. Short interest is often used as a measure for or against the shares of the active cult stocks. The August 31 settlement date showed some key changes in short selling from the August 13 and July 30 settlement dates in some of these actively traded cult stocks. We have tracked and reviewed the changes in many of these and took a look at Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: ABK), Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE: BGP), Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: BRCD), Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE: C), DryShips Inc. (NYSE: DRYS), PMI Group, Inc. (NYSE: PMI), Popular, Inc. (NASDAQ: BPOP), Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD), Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI), Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE: S), and Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG). We have taken a look at the moves and the changes in short interest, and then added in on color on each where applicable.
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) managed another drop in the short interest by -5.7% to 25.49 million shares as of August 31 settlement date, which compares to August 13’s settlement date when the short interest was up 10.4% to 27.03 million from 24.49 million shares from July 30.
Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: ABK) did not see a drop in the August 31 short interest settlement date but its short interest down sharply from June when it saw 71,653,753 shares at June 15 short interest. The August 31 date showed a 1.5% gain to 59.237 million shares short versus August 13’s 58.37 million shares and versus 58.88 million shares at July 30.
Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE: BGP) was hardly changed at only 0.3% higher at the August 31 settlement date at 4.513 million shares. This had seen a drop in short selling despite the confusion around earnings and around a possible sale. August 13 short interest was 4.49 million shares, down by -2.9% from the 4.63 million on July 30.
Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: BRCD) saw a gain in the short interest despite it being considered a takeover possibility. The August 31 short interest was up 9.3% to 20.284 million shares versus 18.56 million on August 13 and versus 22.35 million as of July 30.
Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE: C) saw a large gain at August 31 short settlement date with a gain of 13.8% to 458.76 million shares. The August 13 settlement date was 403 million shares in the short interest, down by -8.1% from the July 30 reading of 438.9 million shares short.
DryShips Inc. (NYSE: DRYS) remained the ultimate coin toss and this was before the most recent secondary offering was filed; there was a -0.7% drop to 21.792 million shares. The short interest was 21.933 million shares on August 13, down by -3.4% from the 22.709 million on July 30.
PMI Group, Inc. (NYSE: PMI) saw another gain in short interest at August 31 by 6.6% at 24.217 million shares versus 22.66 million shares at August 13 versus 20.27 million at July 30.
Popular, Inc. (NASDAQ: BPOP) saw one of the few gains after its old secondary made it a cult stock… August 31 settlement was up 6.2% to 15.39 million shares. At August 13 the short interest was 14.48 million, down by -5.3% from 15.3 million on July 30. This was 25,518,384 in the short interest as of May 28.
Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) saw a gain despite a prior drop. At August 31 its short interest was up 7.2% at 34.226 million shares versus 31.93 million on August 13 versus 36.03 million on July 30.
Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) saw a 9.2% gain to 201.686 million shares at August 31 versus 184.76 million shares short on August 13, but this is is still under the 208.65 million on July 30.
Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE: S) saw another gain of 4.6% to 95.584 million shares on August 31 settlement date. The shares short on August 13 were 91.35 million shares short versus 85.59 million on July 30. The largest we saw in any recent months was 100,520,184 shares short as of May 28.
Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) had been climbing in the past but there was another small drop of 3.2% to 7.799 million shares at August 31 versus 8.055 million on August 13 and down from 8.1 million on July 30.
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JON C. OGG