The number of shares short in Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) rose about 2% to more than 120.94 million as of the most recent settlement date. Some 9.2% of the miner’s float was sold short after the first two weeks of the month, but note that short interest was more than 20% of float early in the year. Here too, it would take about five days to cover all short positions.
Freeport sold assets in California during the short interest period, and short sellers watched the shares fall about 11% by mid-month. However, they have recovered much of that ground since and closed most recently at $10.55 per share. That is up almost 56% year to date. The 52-week low is $3.52, well short of the 52-week high of $14.06.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) saw its short interest dwindle almost 3% to more than 118.75 million shares by mid-October. That was 4.8% of the float, still about the highest level in the past year. As of the most recent settlement date, it would take more than nine days to cover all short positions, after the average daily volume shrank somewhat.
During the period, Alibaba announced a collaboration with AMD, another heavily shorted stock. Short sellers watched the share price rise more than 2% between the settlement dates but end down more than 3%. The stock closed most recently at $104.22, which is more than 28% higher year to date. The 52-week range is $59.25 to $109.87.
Echoing the retreats by more than double-digit percentages back in the July and early August periods, the short interest in General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) plunged by nearly 21%, landing at more than 116.06 million shares by the middle of month. That was 1.3% of the iconic conglomerate’s float, and it would take more than four days to cover all short positions.
GE also is likely to stay afloat if the dollar weakens next year. The share price ended the two-week short interest period more than 2% lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down nearly 1% in that time. GE shares recovered a bit afterward, but they ended most recently at $28.65. They have traded between $27.10 and $33.00 in the past year.
And the Rest
Rounding out the top 10 were Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) and finally Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG). Besides P&G, Bank of America was the other mover here, with a 17% rise in the number of its shares short in the period.
A more than 71% drop in short interest took Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) out of the top 50 most shorted NYSE stocks altogether, but with virtually no change in the number of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) shares short, it continues to linger outside the top 10.