Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) saw its short interest surge about 24% to more than 137.99 million shares by the end of October. That was 18.0% of the float, but note that short interest was more than 200 million shares early in the year. As of the most recent settlement date, it would still take more than two days to cover all the short positions.
During the period, Chesapeake held its first investor day presentation in two years. Short sellers watched the share price drop more than 16% between the settlement dates, though it was up more than 5% at one point. The stock closed most recently at $5.77 a share, up handily from the multiyear low of $1.50 early this year. The 52-week high of $8.15 was seen back in September.
Bank of America
A more than 9% rise in Bank of America Corp.’s (NYSE: BAC) number of shares short made it three periods in a row of rising short interest. The approximately 121.95 million shares short at the end of the latest period represented 1.2% of the money center bank’s float, a year-to-date high. At the latest daily average daily volume, the days to cover is more than one.
This bank posted better-than-expected third-quarter results last month. Its share price ended the two weeks about 3% higher, though it was up more than 5% at one point. The stock has changed hands between $10.99 and $18.05 a share in the past year, and it closed at $17.97 on Wednesday.
The number of shares short in Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (NYSE: FCX) shrank less than 2% to more than 119.41 million as of the most recent settlement date. Some 9.1% of the miner’s float was sold short by the end of the month, but note that short interest was more than 20% of float early in the year. It would take about four days to cover all short positions.
Freeport had a disappointing third-quarter report during the short interest period, and yet the share price rose more than 15% by month’s end. The stock climbed about 23% in the past week to close at $13.07 per share. That is up about 93% year to date. The 52-week low of $3.52 is well short of the 52-week high of $14.06.
And the Rest
Rounding out the top 10 were Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA), General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). The standout here is AT&T, which saw a nearly 10% bump in short interest, while it shrank in the others.
Note that Weatherford International PLC (NYSE: WFT) and Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) had sharp increases in the number of their shares short, but not enough to left them into the top 10.