The 5 Most Shorted Nasdaq Stocks in Mid-December

December 26, 2014 by Trey Thoelcke

Among the most heavily shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq between the November 28 and December 15 settlement dates, only Frontier Communications saw some rise in short interest. The number of BlackBerry shares short was about the same as in the previous period, but short sellers retreated from the rest of the top eight. Note that the top five all had more than 100,000 shares short at the end of the period.

The short interest in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) rose more than 4% from the previous period to around 159.33 million shares, or 16.0% of the telecom’s float. That was the highest number of shares short since July. It would take more than 15 days to cover all short positions. Shares retreated more than 10% in the two weeks to December 15 but have recovered somewhat since. Shares closed most recently at $6.76, in a 52-week range of $4.40 to $7.24.

The number of Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short decreased by about 14.20 million to almost 141.20 million, which was 6.4% of the total float. That was the lowest level of short interest in more than a year, and it would still take about five days to cover all short positions. The stock’s price fell about 8% in the two-week period but has risen since. Shares closed most recently at $3.49, in a 52-week range of $2.98 to $3.89.

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A 14.3% decline in short interest dropped Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) from the top spot on the list. Some 141.19 million shares were short at the end of the period. That totaled 2.9% of the company’s float, and it was the third consecutive period of falling short interest. The days to cover remained about five. Short sellers watched the share price pull back less than 4% in the two-week period, about the same as the S&P 500. Shares closed at $37.44, in a 52-week range of $23.50 to $37.90, and up more than 44% year-to-date.

BlackBerry Ltd.’s (NASDAQ: BBRY) short interest, at more than 111.50 million shares as of mid-month, was barely higher than in the previous period. Yet that was the greatest number of shares short this year, and 22.8% of the total float. The days to cover rose from about nine to more than 11. Shares closed at $10.67, in a 52-week range of $6.98 to $12.54, and they saw decline of more than 9% in the two-week short-interest period.

The number of Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) shares short shrank by 3.7% in a period. The nearly 101.73 million shares short in the middle of the month represent 4.7% of the float, the fifth period in a row of short interest of more than 100 million shares. It would take more than nine days to cover all short positions. The stock saw a less than 4% decline in the two-week period, about the same as the Nasdaq. Shares closed most recently at $58.07, in a 52-week range of $47.74 to $58.22. It is up almost 12% year-to-date.

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Rounding out the top 10 were Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU), Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN), MannKind Corp. (NASDAQ: MNKD), Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) and Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS). Short sellers fled Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), dropping it well out of the top 10.