As the Brexit fears faded and the markets headed for new all-time highs, short sellers remained focused on their favorite stocks traded on the Nasdaq. Between the June 30 and July 15 settlement dates, the short interest swings among them were mostly mild and mostly upward.
Note that among those at the top of the list, Sirius XM bucked the mostly mild trend with a double-digit percentage gain in the number of its shares sold short in the two weeks. And rivals AMD and Intel bucked the mostly upward trend with modest declines in the numbers of their shares held short.
Also note that only two of the most shorted Nasdaq stocks still had more than 100 million shares short by the end of the most recent period.
The nearly 228.65 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short by the middle of this month was more than 17% higher than on the previous settlement date. That was the highest level of short interest in the past year. Some 12.8% of the company’s float was sold short most recently. At the current average daily volume, it would take about four days to cover all short positions.
Sirius XM just reported strong second-quarter revenue and subscriber growth. The stock reached a 52-week high of $4.41 a share on Tuesday. The 52-week low is $3.29. Its share price ended the short interest period more than 5% higher, while the Nasdaq was up less than 4% in that time.
The number of shares short in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) has been on the rise since April, most recently up by more than 1% to more than 166.07 million. That was 14.3% of the telecom’s float, as of the most recent settlement date. The days to cover rose to around 12 as the average daily volume dwindled.
Frontier remains a top pick at Merrill Lynch. Shares ended the most recent short interest period more than 4% higher, although they were down more than 1% at one point. The share price now is more than 10% higher year to date and closed most recently at $5.15, within a 52-week range of $3.81 to $5.85.
MannKind Corp.’s (NASDAQ: MNKD) short interest, at around 86.15 million shares most recently, was barely any higher than on the prior settlement date, but it followed a 5% gain in the previous period. It was also 26.8% of the total float. The days to cover doubled to more than 32, as the daily average volume shrank to a year-to-date low. Note that the year-to-date peak short interest was more than 130 million shares back in February.
MannKind plans to relaunch Afrezza in the current quarter. Short sellers watched shares sink about 13% in the initial two weeks of the month, and the retreat has continued since. Shares are now more than 31% lower year to date to $0.99, though still up from the multiyear low of $0.64 earlier this year. The 52-week high of $4.98 was seen nearly a year ago.