The Trump rally sputtered as the new year got under way, leaving the Dow Jones Industrial average short of the 20,000 milestone. In that time, investors, like everyone else, anticipated the start of a new White House regime. By and large, short interest moves were mild but positive among the most shorted stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange between the December 30 and January 13 settlement dates. However, at the bottom of the top 10 list there were a couple of notable changes.
Note that 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.
The short interest decline in the previous four periods ended this month. The number of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) shares short had a more than 6% gain between the most recent settlement dates. The more than 141.04 million shares reported totaled 22.2% of the float. At the most current daily average, it would take about eight days to cover all the short positions.
Sprint said at the end of last year that it would add 5,000 jobs in the United States. Sprint’s share price ended the two weeks more than 2% higher than where it began, though it was up more than 4% at one point. The share price has climbed about 47% in the past six months and closed most recently at $9.19. The stock hit a 52-week high of $9.25 this week, well up from the 52-week low of $2.45 almost a year ago.
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) saw its short interest grow more than 3% to around 114.18 million shares by the middle of the month. That reclaimed a similar gain in the previous period, as well as totaled 4.7% of the float. As of the most recent settlement date, it would take about 10 days to cover all short positions.
Deutsche Bank named Alibaba as its top China internet pick for 2017. Short sellers watched the share price surge more than 10% and then pull back slightly between the settlement dates. The stock closed most recently at $104.06 a share, which is almost 25% higher than six months ago. The 52-week trading range is $59.25 to $109.87.
Bank of America
After a nearly 22% reduction in Bank of America Corp.’s (NYSE: BAC) number of shares short in the previous period brought it to the lowest level since September, there was hardly any change in the first weeks of this month. The more than 107.40 million shares short reported most recently still represented 1.1% of the money center bank’s float. The average daily trading volume increased in the period but the days to cover remained at less than one.
This bank posted better-than-expected earnings earlier this month. Short sellers watched the shares rise around 4% in the short interest period, while the S&P 500 increased less than 2% in that time. The stock has changed hands between $10.99 and $23.42 a share in the past year, and it closed at $23.37 on Wednesday.