Short sellers retreated from Sirius XM just enough between the September 15 and September 30 settlement dates for it to slip out of the top spot on the list of the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq. Frontier Communications is the king of that mountain for now.
However, the notable movers here were AMD and Novavax, with double-digit percentage increases in their short interest in the final weeks of last month. Others in the top six all saw only modest gains in the number of their shares short.
Note that still only two Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short by the end of the most recent period. In fact, the top two remain far ahead of the pack.
The number of shares short in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) has increased in eight of the past nine periods. It rose most recently by less than 2% to more than 228.27 million. That was 19.6% of the telecom’s float, as well as the highest short interest in at least a year. The days to cover dropped from more than 10 to less than nine as the average daily volume grew again.
Frontier was a contrarian pick from Merrill Lynch in the period. Short sellers watched the shares retreat more than 4% in the short interest period, while the Nasdaq was up around 1%. The stock is less than 2% higher in the past week to $4.15. Shares have changed hands between $3.81 and $5.85 in the past year.
The more than 220.92 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short by the end of September was less than 4% lower than on the previous settlement date. That was also the sixth period in a row of short interest above 200 million. Some 13.0% of the company’s float was sold short most recently. At the current average daily volume, it would take nearly five days to cover all short positions.
There has been some speculation that weak car sales could be a headwind for Sirius XM. Sirius shares ended the two-week period fractionally higher, largely rising and falling along with the Nasdaq in that time. The stock has retreated somewhat since and is currently trading in the same vicinity as at the beginning of the year. It closed most recently at $4.08, in a 52-week trading range of $3.29 to $4.44.
MannKind Corp.’s (NASDAQ: MNKD) short interest, at more than 99.69 million shares most recently, was only fractionally higher than on the prior settlement date. Yet, that was the greatest number of shares short since April, as well as 31.0% of the total float. The daily average volume increased enough during the period for the days to cover to retreat from about 27 to near 24.
MannKind is one of the companies looking to develop an alternative to the EpiPen. Shares ended the two weeks about 12% lower, though they were down more than 19% at one point. The stock is now more than 58% lower year to date to $0.60. The recent 52-week low is $0.55, and the 52-week high of $3.79 was seen nearly a year ago.