In late January, Sirius XM reclaimed its top spot among the most heavily shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq, even though its short interest increased only marginally. The number of shares short for most of the rest of the top 10 actually shrank between the January 15 and January 30 settlement dates. Note that the top five all had more than 100,000 shares short at the end of the period.
The number of Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short increased by around 660,000 to more than 149.55 million late in the month. That was 6.4% of the total float, and still less than half the 52-week peak short interest from last June. At the current average daily volume, it would still take more than four days to cover all short positions. The company recently posted record earnings. The stock’s price ended January about 2.5% higher than two weeks before, and it has gained nearly 4% more since. Shares closed Tuesday at $3.75, in a 52-week range of $2.98 to $3.77.
The short interest in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) slipped 2.4% from the previous period to around 147.02 million shares, or 14.8% of the telecom’s float. That was the smallest number of shares short in the past year. It would take about 21 days to cover all short positions. Merrill Lynch upgraded Frontier in mid-January, citing its market share growth potential and stable dividend. Short sellers watched shares rise more than 6% in the two-week period, as well as more than 15% since. Shares closed Tuesday at $8.26, in a 52-week range of $4.51 to $8.41.
A 4.5% decline in short interest brought Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) to more than 127.54 million shares short at the end of the period. That totaled 2.6% of the company’s float, and it was the sixth consecutive period of falling short interest. The days to cover slipped to less than four. In mid-January, Intel beat fourth-quarter earnings estimates, due in part to reinvigorated PC demand. In the short interest period, Intel shares pulled back about 7%. The stock is now down about that much year-to-date and closed most recently at $33.70. Shares have traded between $24.06 and $37.90 in the past year.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 126.76 million shares short by the end of the month, down from 132.65 million as of the previous settlement date. The most recent reading totaled 20.1% of the company’s float, and the days to cover was about four. Soft earnings pushed the stock to a new 52-week low during the period, yet the share price ended the two weeks about 6% higher and has gained almost 14% since to closed at $3.04 Tuesday. The 52-week range is $2.14 to $4.80.
The number of Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) shares short shrank by about 7.5% in a period. The approximately 101.03 million shares short as of January 30 represented 4.7% of the float. This was the eighth consecutive period of short interest of more than 100 million shares. It would take less than seven days to cover all short positions. Comcast recently made our list of America’s most hated companies. The stock retreated about 4% in the short interest period, but it has more than recovered since. Shares closed Tuesday at $57.41, down about 1% year-to-date and in a 52-week range of $47.74 to $59.30.
Rounding out the top 10 were BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY), Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU), MannKind Corp. (NASDAQ: MNKD), Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) and Windstream Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: WIN). A decline of about 22% in the number of BlackBerry shares short was enough to drop the stock out of the top five, as well as below the 100,000 mark.