Investing

Sprint Drops From the 5 Most Shorted NYSE Stocks

The five most shorted stocks on the New York Stock Exchange at the September 30 settlement date saw rising short interest during the two-week period. Sprint was the exception, with a 21.8% plunge in the number of shares short, good enough to drop the stock out of the top five. Note that the top four all had more than 100,000 shares short at the end of the period.

The number of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) shares short inched up in the final two weeks of the month to about 213.26 million. That was the highest level of short interest in the past year, and it represents 4.1% of the float. At the current average daily volume, it would take more than 12 days to cover all short positions. Investor day presentations at the end of the month got mixed reviews. AT&T shares rose less than 2% in the two-week period to September 30, and they closed at $34.66 Thursday, in the same neighborhood as at the beginning of the year. The 52-week range is $31.74 to $37.48.

The almost 9% rise in short interest in Brazilian miner Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) during the period brought the number of shares short to around 169.12 million shares. That was the highest number of shares short in the past year. It would take about six days to cover all short positions. Shares closed at $11.25 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $10.61 to $17.14. They retreated more than 11% in the two-week short-interest period, hitting a new multiyear low.

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Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NYSE: AMD) saw a 3% gain in short interest to more than 133.17 million shares by the end of the month. That totaled 21.4% of the company’s float, and it was down about 13% from the peak number of shares short in July. The days to cover dropped from more than 11 to less than six as the average daily volume picked up. Recent executive changes happened after the period, but the stock’s price retreated almost 13% in those two weeks. And it has pulled back another 13% since. The stock closed at $2.95 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $2.94 to $4.80.

After rising for seven straight periods, short interest in AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) landed at more than 110.66 million shares on September 30, further climbing the list of most shorted NYSE stocks. That is about 10 times as many shares short as last March, and it was 7% of the total float. It would take almost nine days to cover all short positions. UBS said during the period that hepatitis treatments would drive revenue for AbbVie. The share price rose about 3% but fell back again during the two-week period. Shares closed at $56.72 and have traded in a range of $44.51 to $60.02 in the past year.

Mexican concrete producer Cemex SAB de C.V. (NYSE: CX) saw the number of its shares short increase by around 6.62 million from the previous period to around 98.18 million by the end of September. That was a gain of more than 7% and represents about 8% of the total float. At the current average daily volume, it would take more than 15 days to cover all short positions. Shares ended the two-week period fractionally lower, and they are down about 6% since. The stock closed at $12.20 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $9.43 to $13.82.

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Rounding out the top 10 are Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) and Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC). Short interest also shrank in Bank of America and J.C. Penney during the period, but more modestly than in Sprint.