The 6 Most Shorted NYSE Stocks in June

July 13, 2015 by Trey Thoelcke

AT&T continued to reign as the most shorted stock trading on the New York Stock Exchange between the June 15 and June 30 settlement dates, and short sellers piled on Chesapeake Energy for the second period in a row. Of all the stocks featured here, only Petrobras saw a decline in short interest late in June.

Note that the top six most shorted NYSE stocks all had more than 100,000 shares short at the end of the most recent two-week settlement period.

The number of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) shares short grew 1.3% in the final weeks of the month. The almost 315.10 million shares short represented 6.1% of the float. It would take about nine days to cover all short positions. Note that the year-to-date peak short interest back in May was more than 320 million shares. Analysts were very positive on AT&T during the most recent period, and shares rose almost 6% but then gave up some of that gain in late June. The stock closed most recently at $34.65, which was up a little more than 3% from the beginning of the year. The 52-week trading range is $32.07 to $37.48.

There was a 7.8% rise in the number of Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) shares short, which more than erased the decline in the previous period. The end of the month reading was around 210.40 million shares, down from a year-to-date peak of nearly 250,000 back in April. At the current average daily volume, it would take around nine days to cover all short positions. Vale said during the period it may spin off its base metals unit, and its shares ended the two-week short interest period more than 9% lower. The S&P 500 fell about 1% in that time. Vale shares closed most recently at $5.43, in a 52-week range of $5.20 to $14.93.

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After jumping 17% in the previous period, short interest in Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) added another 14.1% to around 184.99 million shares late last month. That was 28.2% of the company’s float, and the days to cover rose to about nine. The stock was one of the worst performing in the S&P 500 in June, and the share price dropped more than 8% between the settlement dates. It has recovered a little since, and the stock closed at $11.37 on Friday. The 52-week high of $29.09 was reached almost a year ago, and the $9.94 low was seen last week.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), better known as Petrobras, saw the number of its shares short retreat 1.0% in the two weeks to more than 129.14 million. The days to cover was about five. The year-to-date peak number of shares short of around 146,000 was reached in April. Petrobras announced capital spending cuts between the most recent settlement dates. Shares rose more than 7% but gave up all that gain by the end of period. The stock ended last week at $8.38, up almost 15% year to date. In the past year, shares have traded between $4.90 and $20.94.

Sprint Corp.’s (NYSE: S) short interest grew from about 99.69 million shares more than 103.15 million in the latter two weeks of the month. That was 12.9% of the float, as well as the largest number of shares short so far this year. The days to cover was about nine. In June, Sprint announced another rate plan aimed at undercutting rivals. Short sellers watched the share price rise more than 3% but then end the two-week period down less than 3%. Shares closed at $3.78 Friday, in a 52-week range of $3.74 to $8.68, and down about 9% year to date.

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The number of Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) shares short swelled to more than 101.65 million from 97.48 million in the previous period, or to 27.7% of the total float. That was the third period in a row of rising short interest. The days to cover increased to about 12. Shares slumped along with oil prices in the period, and shares ended the two weeks around 8% lower. They pulled back almost 8% more since, closing at $14.62 on Friday. Shares have traded between $13.28 and $44.49 in the past 52 weeks.

Rounding out the top 10 were J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP), Peabody Energy Corp. (NYSE: BTU), General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F). The big mover among these was Peabody Energy, with the number of shares short surging more than 22% during the two weeks. A plunge in short interest allowed Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) to drop well out of the top 10.