Familiar names made up the top five most shorted stocks on the Nasdaq between the August 29 and September 15 settlement dates, though Apple did see a surge in shares short to push it up to the number three spot. Sirius held on to the top spot despite short sellers shying away. All five had short interest of more than 100 million shares at the end of the period.
The number of Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short fell by about 30.3 million to around 244.13 million, which was 10.1% of the float. Short interest has been shrinking since the end of June, but it would take more than eight days to cover all short positions. Sirius boosted its guidance for net subscriber additions during the period. The stock’s price fell about 1% in the two weeks and has pulled back further since. Shares closed at $3.53 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $2.98 to $4.18.
In the period when it joined with Dish Network to expand into small towns, the short interest in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) slipped a bit from the previous period to around 149.97 million shares, or 15.1% of the telecom’s float. That took back some of the short interest gain in the previous period. It would take more than 15 days to cover all short positions. Shares declined more than 6% in the two-weeks to September 15 but have recovered a bit since. Shares closed at $6.52, in a 52-week range of $4.09 to $7.24.
The number of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares short surged 44% in the period when the iPhone 6 launched to record demand. The more than 138.26 million shares short represents 2.3% of Apple’s float. Short interest had fallen over the summer put picked up ahead of the iPhone launch. It would take less than two days to cover all short positions. Shares drooped marginally during the two weeks, and they closed at $101.75 Wednesday. The split-adjusted 52-week range is $67.77 to $103.74.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) saw little movement in short interest. Some 124.60 million shares were short at the end of the period. That totaled 2.5% of the company’s float, and it was the smallest number of shares short in at least a year. The days to cover was five. Intel has been one of the best performing Dow stocks this year, and short sellers watched the share price retreat about 1% in the two-week period. Shares ended Wednesday at $34.75, in a 52-week range of $22.48 to $35.56, and up more than 33% year-to-date.
Micron Technology Inc.’s (NASDAQ: MU) short interest, at around 106.68 million shares mid-month, was up more than 5% from the previous period. That was 10% of the company’s float. The days to cover shrank to about five. The stock is expected to get a boost from the Apple Watch. Shares closed Wednesday at $32.22, in a 52-week range of $16.17 to $34.85, and posted a share price drop of about 8% for the two-week short-interest period.
Rounding out the top 10 were BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY), Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN), Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT). Among these, Staples saw the biggest movement, with a more than 13% decline in short interest during the period.