Summer is in full swing, and judging by the moves in the six most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq between June 30 and July 14, short sellers overall were uncertain what to make of major indexes still near all-time highs even though the bull run is well more than eight years old now. There were swings in both directions during those two weeks, but mostly mild.
Note that Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR), the previous king of the hill among these stocks, disappeared from the top 10 list by virtue of a reverse stock split during the most recent period. That allowed another frequent short seller favorite to return to the top spot.
Leading the upward trend in the first two weeks of this month was the largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue. On the other hand, short sellers notably retreated from world’s largest and highest valued semiconductor chip maker by revenue in that time.
Also note that now only two Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short, as of mid-July.
The more than 255.72 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short by the middle of this month was more than 8 million more than on the previous settlement date. That was the greatest number of shares short since May, and it represented 17.1% of the total float. As the average daily volume retreated to a year-to-date low, the days to cover rose to a year-to-date high of more than 16.
Sirius recently took a big stake in Pandora Media. The stock ended the two-week period about where it began it, though it was down more than 2% at one point in the interval. The Nasdaq rose more than 2% by the settlement date. The shares closed on Tuesday at $5.39 apiece, not far from the 52-week high of $5.53 from back in March. The 52-week low of $4.05 was seen last summer.
By the middle of this month, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 150.13 million shares short. That was a gain of more than 3% from the total on the previous settlement date, which took back most of the decline in the previous period. The most recent reading represented 17.8% of the company’s float. It still would take less than two days to cover all short positions.
AMD was seen during the period as benefiting from weakness at Intel. The July 14 share price was more than 11% higher than on the previous settlement date, though the shares had been up about 14% a couple of days earlier. The stock closed most recently at $14.11, which is more than 24% higher year to date. Shares have changed hands between $5.66 and $15.55 apiece in the past year.
More than 93.93 million Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) shares were sold short as of the latest settlement date. Short interest fell more than 8% in the period — from a year-to-date high — to total 2.0% of the company’s float. That ended four consecutive periods with a rising number of shares short. As of the mid-month settlement date, it would take more than four days to cover all short positions.
Intel was a laggard among Dow stocks in the first half of the year. Though the shares ended the short interest period almost 3% higher, that was about the same as the rise in the Nasdaq. The most recent close at $34.67 a share compares to a 52-week trading range of $33.23 and $38.45, and it is more than 4% lower than at the beginning of the year.