2 Short Seller Favorites Have Slipped From Recent Highs

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average appears to be struggling to reach the 21,000 milestone. And short sellers may be keeping an eye on two of their favorite stocks in the days ahead. That’s because Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) and Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI), which are among the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange, recently hit new 52-week highs and have begun to retreat.

After four consecutive periods of Bank of America’s number of shares short retreating, they reversed course in February. The more than 106.65 million shares short reported most recently (less than a 2% rise) 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 about one.

This is one of the banks likely to benefit from the expected deregulation. The shares ended the two weeks more than 8% higher, while the S&P 500 was up about 3% in that time. The stock has changed hands between $12.05 and $24.95 a share in the past year. It closed at $24.68 on Tuesday, still up more than 11% year to date.

The approximately 249.35 million Sirius XM shares short by the end of January was more than 2% lower than on the previous settlement date, as well as the lowest level of short interest since October. Some 15.1% of the company’s float was sold short most recently. The days to cover declined from more than 13 to less than 12 as the average daily trading volume bounced back from a 52-week low.

Sirius shares hit a new high after its latest earnings report. The stock ended the short interest period more than 3% higher, most of that gain coming at the end of the two weeks. The Nasdaq also was up more than 3% between the settlement dates. The stock is currently trading more than 14% higher year to date. It closed Tuesday at $5.09 a share, in a 52-week range of $3.74 to $5.22.