While moves in the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq were mostly upward in the previous period, between the May 31 and June 15 settlement dates short sellers became more selective. Those two weeks were marked by seemingly overbought markets, political and geopolitical uncertainties and rising concerns about a possible sizable market correction, particularly on the Nasdaq.
The biggest change was seen in the number of shares short of the nation’s largest cable TV provider, a double-digit percentage decline from the previous settlement date. Overall, downswings were larger than the more modest upswings. The most shorted Nasdaq stock remained at the top of the heap while leading the short interest gainers.
Note that now four Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short, as of the middle of this month. However, two of them remain very far ahead of the pack.
After rising more modestly in the previous two periods, the number of shares short in Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) added another 6% or so to almost 295.94 million as of the most recent settlement date. That was 25.4% of the telecom’s float, as well as the 20th consecutive period with more than 200 million shares short. The daily average trading volume again dropped sharply, so the days to cover rose from almost eight to less than 11.
Frontier disappointed its shareholders with its most recent earnings report. Short sellers watched the share price drop almost 7% but then recover to end the two-week period about where it began. The stock closed most recently at $1.14 a share, not much higher than the 52-week low of $1.10 hit last week. The 52-week high of $5.22 was seen almost a year ago.
The more than 243.05 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short by the middle of June was more than 6% lower than on the previous settlement date. That was the lowest number of shares short so far this year, and it represented 16.3% of the total float. As the average daily volume grew, the days to cover rose from about 11, the highest since March, to less than nine, another year-to-date low.
Sirius recently said it would take a big stake in Pandora Media. The stock climbed more than 4% early in the period but ended the first two weeks of this month down less than 2% higher. The Nasdaq was down fractionally by the settlement date. After hitting a 52-week high of $5.53 in March, the stock closed on Monday at $5.30 a share. The 52-week low of $3.74 was seen last summer.
By the middle of this month, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than nearly 155.44 million shares short. That was a reduction of about 2% from the total on the previous settlement date, which was the highest level of short interest in at least a year. The most recent reading represented 18.6% of the company’s float. It would take less than two days to cover all short positions.
After the pop in short interest in the previous period came some profit-taking in AMD shares. While the June 15 share price was less than 3% higher than on the previous settlement date, the shares had been up than 15% at one point in the interval. The stock closed at $14.08 on Monday, more than 24% higher year to date. Shares have changed hands between $4.65 and $15.55 in the past year.