The Trump rally continued this month, with the markets hitting new all-time highs as investors anticipate a strengthening economy under the new administration. While moves among the most shorted stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange overall were mixed but mild, short sellers did find one stock to pile on between the November 30 and December 15 settlement dates: GE.
Ford was also a notable mover, with a sharp decline in the number of its shares sold short in the first weeks of the month, almost allowing it to drop out of the top 10 altogether.
The top six stocks on the list all still had more than 100 million shares short at the end of the most recent settlement period.
This iconic conglomerate became the most shorted NYSE stock during the period, knocking Sprint from its pedestal. The short interest in General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) surged by nearly 55%, landing at almost 147.81 million shares by the middle of month. That was 1.7% of the total float, and it would take more than five days to cover all short positions.
Earlier this month, the stock looked like a dark horse to be one of the 2017 Dogs of the Dow. The shares ended the two-week short interest period more than 1% higher, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 4% in that time. After adding another 2% or so since the settlement date, the stock closed most recently at $31.90. Shares have traded between $27.10 and $33.00 in the past year.
The short interest decline in the previous two periods continued into this month. Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) shares short retreated another 3% or so between the most recent settlement dates. The approximately 142.15 million shares reported totaled 22.4% of the float. At the most current daily average, it would take about six days to cover all the short positions.
Speculation about the odds of a Sprint and T-Mobile merger under a Trump administration continued in the period. Sprint’s share price ended the two weeks almost 8% higher than where it began it, though it was up more than 13% at one point. The share price has doubled in the past six months and closed most recently at $8.69. The stock hit a 52-week high of $8.98 last month, well up from the 52-week low of $2.18 early in the year.
Bank of America
A more than 2% reduction in Bank of America Corp.’s (NYSE: BAC) number of shares short was still the second greatest number so far this year. The more than 138.73 million shares short at the end of the latest period represented 1.4% of the money center bank’s float. The average daily trading volume has risen for four periods in a row, and the days to cover remains less than one.
This was named one of America’s worst banks during the month. Its share price ended the short interest period more than 9% higher, while the S&P 500 rose almost 3% in that time. The stock has changed hands between $10.99 and $23.39 a share in the past year, and it closed at $22.61 on Tuesday.