The moves in the six most shorted stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange were mostly upward again between June 15 and June 30. This seeming confidence in the short sellers came during the sluggish growth of the economy and with markets near all-time highs after a more than eight-year bull run.
The biggest rise in the number of shares short in these stocks was seen in a leading Chinese e-commerce company. But bucking the trend with a short interest decline was one of the big three Detroit automakers. It was joined by a few others at the bottom of the top 10 most shorted Nasdaq stocks as last month came to a close.
Note that the top six stocks on the list all had more than 120 million shares short at the end of the most recent settlement period.
The number of Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s (NYSE: CHK) shares short has risen in nearly every period so far this year, and it remains the most shorted NYSE stock again. Short interest increased most recently by about 6% to nearly 203.14 million shares. That was 22.7% of the company’s float. At the latest posted daily average trading volume, it would take about five days to cover all the short positions.
The stock caught another analyst downgrade in the most recent period. But the share price ended the two weeks only fractionally lower, though it was down about 10% at one point. The S&P 500 also saw a fractional decline in that time. The stock closed most recently at $4.67 a share, which is more than 33% lower year to date. Shares have changed hands between $4.27 and $8.20 in the past 52 weeks.
Weatherford International PLC (NYSE: WFT) once again sits at the second spot on the list with more than a 3% rise in the number of shares short in the final two weeks of last month. That followed a pause in the previous period after two double-digit percentage increases in a row back in late April and early May. The nearly 153.89 million shares reported most recently represented 15.8% of the total float. The days to cover reading ended the period at around six.
One key analyst upgraded shares of this oil and gas driller late last month. Those shares were up less than 3% at the end of the two-week period, despite being more than 8% higher at one point. The share price was last seen at $3.86. That was up from the recent multiyear low of $3.39, but handily less than the 52-week high of $7.09 from back in March.
The approximately 149.50 million AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) shares short on the most recent settlement date was hardly any higher than the number in mid-June. It still represented 2.4% of the float, but also it was the second highest level of short interest in at least a year. As of the latest settlement date, it again would take about seven days to cover all short positions, even though the average daily volume increased.
AT&T remains a great America company paying high dividends. In the latter two weeks of last month, short sellers watched the share price drop nearly 3%. The stock closed most recently at $36.83 a share, which was more than 13% lower than at the beginning of the year. The 52-week trading range for those shares is $36.10 to $43.50.