Short Sellers Exit Tech

Short sellers cut their bets against tech shares as earnings seasons approaches, based on data of short interest in major stocks as of December 31.

Shares short in Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) dropped 17% to 48.4 million and the world’s largest chip company began its move to capture the handheld device market. The short interest in Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) dropped 7% to 30.3 million. This comes despite the sale of shares by CEO Larry Ellison. The IT spending recovery should favor Oracle’s fortunes.

The short interest in Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) ticked down to 41.2 million despite lackluster earnings. Shares short in Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) dropped a sharp 18% to 26.8 million. Wall St. has been impressed as the graphics chip company has increased its foot print in PCs and has begun to create hardware for smaller handheld devices.

Short sellers were ambivalent about the future of big banks, and the shares sold short in them did not change much in the latest measurement period. The short interest in Citigroup (NYSE: C) was flat at 354.6 million. Shares short in Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) were down only 1% to 111.6 million. The short interest in Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) was up less than 5% to 51.6 million shares

Other notable changes included a 19% drop in short interest in Ford (NYSE: F), which had a strong year in domestic car sales, to 179.5 million. Shares short in Motorola (NYSE: MOT) fell 17% to 40.1 million ahead of a planned breakup of the company.

Data from NYSE and NASDAQ.

Douglas A. McIntyre