Despite a dwindling number of shares sold short between the March 13 and March 31 settlement dates, Sirius XM returned to its place at the top of the list of the most heavily shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq. Meanwhile, double-digit percentage surges pushed Advanced Micro Devices and Microsoft further up the ranks of the top 10.
Note that the five most shorted Nasdaq stocks all had more than 95,000 shares short at the end of the period.
The number of Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short decreased by around 6.0 million to almost 130.40 million late in the month. That was 5.4% 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 about six days to cover all short positions. Goldman Sachs resumed coverage of Sirius during the period. Short sellers watched the share price slip 2.3% during the two weeks between settlement dates. Shares closed Friday at $3.94, in a 52-week range of $2.98 to $4.04.
An 11.1% drop in short interest brought Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) to more than 128.47 million shares short. That totaled 2.7% of the company’s float and was the second lowest number of shares short so far this year. The days to cover dropped to around three. In March, Intel reportedly was pursuing Altera. Intel shares lost about 1% in the short interest period, while the S&P 500 was essentially flat. The stock is now down about 12% year-to-date and closed most recently at $31.93. Shares have traded between $25.74 and $37.90 in the past year.
The short interest in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) dropped 7.8% from the previous period to around 112.60 million shares, or 11.3% of the telecom’s float. That was the smallest number of shares short in at least a year. The days to cover rose to more than 13. Earlier in March, Frontier announced its CEO transition plan, and during the short interest period the stock retreated 3.1%. It is up 5.4% since, though. Shares closed Friday at $7.43, in a 52-week range of $5.44 to $8.46.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 103.23 million shares short by the end of the month, down almost 11% from the previous settlement date. The most recent reading totaled 16.3% of the company’s float, and the days to cover rose to more than eight. AMD faces the same weakness in PC sales as rival Intel. The share price ended the two weeks 3% higher, though it has dropped again since. The stock closed at $2.76 on Friday. The 52-week range is $2.14 to $4.80.
MannKind Corp.’s (NASDAQ: MNKD) short interest, at almost 95.72 million shares as of the end of March, was up 5.3% from the previous period. Note that it was 37.9% of the total float and the highest short interest in at least a year. The days to cover jumped from about 13 to more than 29 as the daily average volume shrank. Both Forbes and Barron’s talked up the stock in late March. Shares ended last week at $5.25, in a 52-week range of $4.45 to $11.48, and posted a share price decline of 5.6% for the two-week short-interest period.
Rounding out the top 10 were BlackBerry Ltd. (NASDAQ: BBRY), Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Windstream Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: WIN), Applied Materials Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAT) and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), which returned to the list on a short interest surge of more than 17%. Windstream saw a more modest bump in the number of shares short.