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The 5 Most Shorted NYSE Stocks as Q2 Begins

After a jump of more than 22% in the previous period, short interest in Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) rose another 8.6% to almost 147.23 million shares, more than double the number of shares short back in February. That mid-April figure was 22.4% of the company’s float, and the days to cover rose to about six. The stock has seen sizable insider buying recently, and the share price increased 14.6% between the settlement dates. Since that time, shares have retreated less than 5% and closed at $14.54 on Friday. They have traded between $13.38 and $29.92 in the past year.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), better known as Petrobras, saw the number of its shares short gain 13.8% by the middle of month. That 146.05 million was the highest level of short interest in the past year. The days to cover crept up to about four, the highest it has been this year. We pondered the fate of the Petrobras dividend earlier this month. Shares increased about 50% during the settlement period, and more than 21% since. The stock ended last week at $9.99, in a 52-week range of $4.90 to $20.94.

Transocean Ltd.’s (NYSE: RIG) short interest retreated 6.4% in the period, with a midmonth reading of more than 110.65 shares. That was the lowest level of short interest since January, and it represented 31.6% of the total float. The days to cover dropped to less than 11. Higher oil prices helped boost the share price during the period, and it rose more than 28% in the two weeks. However, it has pulled back more than 4% since, closing at $16.40 on Friday. Shares have traded between $13.28 and $46.12 in the past year.

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Rounding out the top 10 were Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP), General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Avon Products Inc. (NYSE: AVP). Of these, GE saw a surge in short interest, pushing it into the top 10, while Verizon, like Pfizer, continues to see short sellers getting out of the way.