In most years, August is the heart of the summer doldrums, but this year the markets are hitting new all-time highs. However, short sellers made very few big moves between the July 29 and August 15 settlement dates, at least when it comes to the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq.
The exception was Frontier Communications, which saw a sharp increase in the number of its shares during the two-week period. Also of note, Intel short interest continues to shrink, though the leading semiconductor chip maker has yet to slip from the top 10 most shorted Nasdaq stocks.
Note that only two Nasdaq stocks still had more than 100 million shares short by the end of the most recent period.
The more than 221.12 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short by the middle of August was less than 4% lower than on the previous settlement date, which was the highest level of short interest in at least a year. Some 4.5% of the company’s float was sold short most recently. At the current average daily volume, it would take more than four days to cover all short positions.
Sirius XM reported late last month that it had topped 25 million subscribers. Its share price ended the two-week period more than 3% lower, after hitting a new multiyear high of $4.44 at the end of July. The Nasdaq was up about 2% in that time. The stock closed most recently at $4.14 a share. The 52-week low is $3.29.
The number of shares short in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) had been increasing since April, but after a modest breather in the previous period, it rose again, this time by more than 17% to more than 189.26 million. That was 16.3% of the telecom’s float, as of the most recent settlement date. The days to cover dropped from more than 12 to about eight as the average daily volume surged.
Frontier remains a top stock pick at Deutsche Bank. Short sellers watched the shares sink more than 5% in the short interest period. They have continued to retreat since then, though the share price now is only fractionally lower year to date to $4.66, within a 52-week range of $3.81 to $5.85.