September can be a volatile time for the markets, and judging by most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq, short sellers had mixed expectations. That is, the short interest moves among these stocks were mixed and mostly modest between the August 31 and September 15 settlement dates.
Comcast led those with shrinking short interest, with a double-digit decline in the number of its shares sold short during the two-week period. But near the bottom of the top 10, there were a few stocks that saw sharp increases in their short interest in that time.
And note that still just three Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short as of the middle of this month.
The more than 242.48 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short after the first two weeks of this month was around 5 million more than on the previous settlement date, which had been the smallest number of shares short so far this year. The latest reading represented 16.8% of the total float. As the average daily volume rose in the period, the days to cover dropped from about 17 to near 12.
Warren Buffett reportedly has trimmed his stake in Sirius. The stock ended the short interest period more than 4% lower than where it began it, while the Nasdaq rose fractionally between the settlement dates. Sirius shares have been relatively flat in the past week and closed most recently at $5.44 apiece. They hit a new 52-week high of $5.89 near the end of July, and the 52-week low of $4.05 was seen last fall.
By the middle of September, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had almost 158.11 million shares short. That was a rise of about 6% from the total on the previous settlement date, and it was second highest level of short interest so far this year. The most recent reading represented 17.9% of the company’s float. It still would take more than three days to cover all short positions.
During the period, one analyst saw little impact on AMD from cryptocurrency issues. The September 15 share price was less than 4% lower than on the previous settlement date, though the shares were down about 6% at one point. The stock closed on Tuesday at $12.45, which is about 9% lower than six months ago. Shares have changed hands between $6.22 and $15.65 apiece in the past year.
More than 118.31 million Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) shares were sold short as of the latest settlement date. Short interest grew less than 8% during the period — on top of two previous 9% periods of growth — to the greatest number of shares short in the past year. That represented 2.5% of the company’s float. As of the latest settlement date, it would take about six days to cover all short positions.
Intel was seen as benefiting from sales of the newly revealed iPhones. Though its shares ended the short interest period with more than a 5% gain, they pulled back somewhat afterward. The most recent close at $37.47 a share compares to a 52-week trading range of $33.23 and $38.45, and it is more than 2% higher than the share price at the beginning of the year.