While short sellers shied away from many of the most heavily shorted stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange between the June 15 and June 30 settlement dates, GE bucked that trend. In fact, a surge in the number of GE shares sold short during those two weeks lifted the stock to the top of the list.
On the other hand, leading the downward trend was miner Freeport McMoRan, which saw a double-digit decline in its short interest. However, that wasn’t enough for it to slip out of the top 10 most shorted NYSE stocks.
Note that all of the top six stocks had more than 110 million shares short at the end of the most recent settlement period.
The short interest in General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) jumped about 69% to the highest level year to date, or about 188.56 million shares during the latter two weeks of the month. That was 2.1% of the iconic conglomerate’s float, and it still would take more than four days to cover all short positions.
GE is among the companies buying back the most stock this year, and the share price ended the short interest period up more than 3%. It is now up less than 4% year to date and closed Tuesday at $32.26. Shares have traded between $19.37 and $32.50 in the past year.
The number of Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) shares short retreated by more than 11.63 million during the period, or more than 6%, to nearly 168.90 million. That was on top of an almost 7% decline in the previous period. At the most recent average daily volume, it would take about seven days to cover all short positions.
The Brazilian miner aims to sell more iron ore to China. Vale’s shares ended the short-interest period almost 17% higher, though they pulled back some afterward. The stock closed most recently at $5.35, which is up more than 62% year to date, but also around 6% lower than a year ago. The share price has ranged from $2.13 to $6.26 in the past 52 weeks.
As its short interest shrank around 4% between the settlement dates, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) slipped further from the top of the list, where it had recently resided. The around 167.94 million shares short reported most recently totaled 26.8% of the float. The days to cover dropped from 17 to eight as the daily average volume rose sharply.
Regulators won’t let Sprint be acquired, even it keeps losing money. Its share price rose around 23% in the two-week period, and further since the settlement date. The S&P 500 gained a little more than 1% in the short interest period. The stock closed most recently at $4.82, or around 33% higher than at the beginning of the year. The 52-week trading range is $2.18 to $5.29.