The 6 Most Shorted Nasdaq Stocks: Why Short Sellers Like AMD, BlackBerry

As the markets tanked at the beginning of 2016, what were the short sellers up to? Well, among the most heavily shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq, the movement was mostly positive though mostly mild. Of the top six, only AMD and BlackBerry saw significant rises between the December 31 and January 15 settlement dates, of more than 11% and nearly 10%, respectively. Intel bucked the trend, though.

Note that the four most shorted Nasdaq stocks all had more than 120,000 shares short by the end of the period.

After retreating more than 2% in the previous period, the short interest in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) resumed its rise, adding more than 4% to come in at nearly 173.86 million shares by mid-month. That was 15.0% of the telecom’s float. The days to cover slipped to less than 11 as the average daily volume increased. Shares ended the short interest period down almost 9%, just a little lower than the Nasdaq in that time. Frontier announced a board shake-up during that time. The share price now is down more than 4% year to date. The stock closed most recently at $4.45, within a 52-week trading range of $3.81 to $8.46.

The more than 145.49 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short in the middle of January was more than 1% lower than on the previous settlement date. That was 7.1% of the company’s float. The past year’s peak short interest of more than 160 million was back in August. At the current average daily volume, it would take more than four days to cover all short positions. Sirius said it added more subscribers in 2015 than it had forecast. The share price ended the two-week period about 10% lower and has declined more since. The stock ended Wednesday at $3.63 a share, in a 52-week range of $3.31 to $4.20.

By the middle of the month, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 134.35 million shares short, which was up from 120.43 million two weeks earlier. The most recent reading totaled 20.8% of the company’s float. The days to cover slipped to less than seven as the average daily volume continued to grow. Recent earnings were in line with estimates, but the outlook was shaky. Short sellers watched the share price drop more than 27% in the two-week period, and retreat more than 3% more since. The shares closed most recently at $2.13, within a 52-week range of $1.61 to $3.37.

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