Intel rose to the top of the list of the most heavily shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq between the February 27 and March 13 settlement dates, displacing Sirius XM. BlackBerry also saw a notable increase in the number of its shares short, lifting it into the top five.
Note that the five most shorted Nasdaq stocks all had more than 95,000 shares short at the end of the period.
An 8.4% rise in short interest brought Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) to around 144.49 million shares short and was enough to lift the tech giant to the top spot on the list by the end of the period. That totaled 3.1% of the company’s float. The days to cover dropped to less than four. Intel lowered its guidance during the period due to weak PC sales. Intel shares lost about 7% in the short interest period, while the S&P 500 was down less than 3%. The stock is now down about 15% year-to-date and closed most recently at $30.79. Shares have traded between $25.17 and $37.90 in the past year.
The number of Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short decreased by around 9.5 million to almost 136.42 million early in the month. That was 5.6% of the total float, as well as the lowest level of short interest in the past year. At the current average daily volume, it would still take more than five days to cover all short positions. We asked earlier this month whether strong growth was over for Sirius. Short sellers watched the share price gain little during the two weeks between settlement dates. Shares closed Tuesday at $3.92, in a 52-week range of $2.98 to $4.04.
The short interest in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) dropped 3.1% from the previous period to around 122.09 million shares, or 12.3% of the telecom’s float. That was the smallest number of shares short in at least a year. The days to cover remained more than 10. Frontier announced its CEO transition plan during the short interest period, and shares retreated more than 8%, though they have recovered a bit since. Shares closed Tuesday at $7.39, in a 52-week range of $5.32 to $8.46.
The number of Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) shares short slipped by 2.2% in a period. The almost 96.58 million shares short as of March 13 represented 4.5% of the float. That was the lowest level of short interest since last September. It would take more than seven days to cover all short positions. Comcast recently appeared to be set to cannibalize its own business. Yet the stock ended the short interest period about where it began, and it is essentially flat year-to-date as well. Shares closed Tuesday at $57.57 and have traded between $47.74 and $60.70 in the past year.
BlackBerry Ltd.’s (NASDAQ: BBRY) short interest, at more than 95.57 million shares as of the middle of the month, was 8.3% higher than in the previous period, and a whopping 19.5% of the total float. Note that the previous reading was a 52-week low. The days to cover dropped from more than 11 to less than nine. Speculation about a buyout of BlackBerry appears to be dwindling. Shares closed Tuesday at $9.52, in a 52-week range of $7.01 to $12.63. They fell more than 9% in the two-week period and another 3% since.
Rounding out the top 10 were Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD), MannKind Corp. (NASDAQ: MNKD), Windstream Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: WIN), Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) and Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU). Moves among these in early March were mild, though Micron did rejoin the top 10, replacing Groupon.