After retreating by more than double-digit percentages in the previous three periods from the highest level year to date, the short interest decline in General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) slowed to less than 2%, landing at more than 116.43 million shares at the end of the month. That was 1.3% of the iconic conglomerate’s float, and it would take more than five days to cover all short positions.
Warren Buffett still has a stake in GE. The share price ended the two-week short interest period about where it began, while the Dow Jones was in the red in that time. GE shares also were essentially flat in the past week and ended most recently at $30.49. They have traded between $24.26 and $33.00 in the past 52 weeks.
Bank of America
A nearly 12% surge in Bank of America Corp.’s (NYSE: BAC) number of shares short came on top of a 20% or so gain in the previous period. The approximately 112.91 million shares short at the most recent settlement date represented 1.1% of the money center bank’s float, a year-to-date high. At the latest average daily volume, the days to cover is more than one.
This bank made the 24/7 Wall St. Customer Service Hall of Shame list during the period. Its share price ended the two weeks more than 7% higher, though it has retreated a bit since then. The shares have changed hands between $10.99 and $18.09 in the past year, and the stock closed at $15.90 a share on Monday.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) saw its short interest pull back less than 8% to around 110.17 million shares by the end of August. That was 14.4% of the float, the lowest level so far this year. As of the most recent settlement date, it still would take about two days to cover all short positions, even though the average daily volume shrank somewhat.
Investors were not pleased to see Chesapeake take on new debt in the period. Yet, short sellers watched the share price rise more than 15% between the settlement dates. The stock closed most recently at $8.05, up handily from the multiyear low of $1.50 early this year. The 52-week high of $9.55 was seen last fall.
And the Rest
Rounding out the top 10 were Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA), Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA), Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) and Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG). The biggest mover here was Freeport, with a bump of more than 8%, while there was hardly any change at all for Alcoa and Transocean.
Lingering outside the top 10 were Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE: HST), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T).