Investing

The 6 Most Shorted NYSE Stocks

Sprint

Earlier this month, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) saw one of the few short interest declines among the most shorted NYSE stocks. And note that the number of its shares short interest has decreased in 10 of the previous 13 periods. Most recently its shares short shrank by more than 3 million to around 121.49 million, which was 19.0% of the telecom’s total float. The days to cover dropped from near 12 to about five during those two weeks as the daily average volume surged to a year-to-date high.

Sprint reported a quarterly net loss early this month, and its share price dropped about 14% afterward. It ended the latest short interest period down more than 12%. The stock has recovered a little since then and closed most recently at $8.17. The shares hit a 52-week high of $9.65 back in February, which compares to the 52-week low of $3.46 from almost a year ago.

Ford

After the gains in short interest in the previous three periods, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) short sellers appeared to have had enough. The decline in the first two weeks of this month was about 6%, bringing the reported number of shares short to more than 116.03 million. That represents 3.0% of the total float, and it was the fourth time this year that short interest was more than 100 million shares. It still would take three days to cover all short positions, as of the latest settlement date.

Ford recently announced layoffs, but the shares were not rewarded for it. The stock ended the period down more than 4%, but here too the share price regained some since then. The shares have changed hands between $10.67 and $14.04 apiece in the past year. They were trading at $10.96 on Wednesday’s close, which is more than 9% lower than at the beginning of the year.

J.C. Penney

J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) saw the number of its shares short little changed from the previous period, but the latest reading still was the greatest in the past year. And note that the approximately 110.50 million shares reported totaled a whopping 38.4% of the struggling retailer’s float. The daily average trading volume increased during the period, and the days to cover slipped to about four.

It began to look this month like even the J.C. Penney bulls were finally giving up. Its share price by the end of the two-week short interest period was more than 4% lower, most of that drop early in the month following the latest earnings report. The stock closed most recently at $4.65 a share. The recent 52-week low was $4.17, while the 52-week high of $73.30 was seen last August.

And the Rest

Rounding out the top 10 were CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) and General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE). The only decliner here was Bank of America, but a gain of almost 18% pushed Vale back into the top 10 most shorted stocks.

Not far outside the spotlight of the top 10 were Seadrill Ltd. (NYSE: SDRL) and Cobalt International Energy Inc. (NYSE: CIE).