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 New York Stock Exchange. Between the June 30 and July 15 settlement dates, short interest swings among them were mostly mild and mostly downward.
Sprint managed to rise to the top of the list again during the period, despite a modest decline in the number of its shares sold short. That was because the previous list topper, General Electric, had a double-digit decline in its short interest. Among the top few most shorted NYSE stocks, only Alcoa saw a notable gain.
Note that all the top six stocks still had more than 110 million shares short at the end of the most recent settlement period.
Even though its short interest shrank less than 4% between the settlement dates, the second period in a row of fewer shares short, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has returned to the top of the NYSE list. The around 162.30 million shares short reported most recently totaled 25.9% of the total float. The days to cover increased from eight to 12 as the daily average volume dropped sharply.
Sprint is widely expected to be a laggard in 5G trials. Its share price rose more than 10% in the first weeks of this month, and then about 25% further since the settlement date. The S&P 500 gained about 3% in the short interest period. Sprint shares hit a new 52-week high of $6.28 on Tuesday. The 52-week low is $2.18.
The number of Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) shares short retreated by more than 9.56 million during the period, or less than 6%, to nearly 168.90 million. That was the third period in a row of shrinking short interest. At the most recent average daily volume, it would take about seven days to cover all short positions.
This Brazilian miner says it aims to sell more iron ore to China. Vale’s shares ended the short-interest period about 6% higher, though they pulled back a bit afterward. The stock closed most recently at $5.67, which is up more than 72% year to date, but also less than 4% higher than a year ago. The share price has ranged from $2.13 to $6.26 in the past year.
After a surge of about 69% in the previous period to the highest level year to date, the short interest in General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) retreated more than 16% to almost 167.59 million shares during the first two weeks of this month. That was 1.7% 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 its share price ended the two-week short interest period up more than 4%. Yet it has fallen more than 4% in the past week to $31.47. Shares have traded between $19.37 and $33.00 in the past year.