The American Thanksgiving holiday fell between the November 15 and November 30 short interest settlement dates, and investors had much to give thanks for, with the market’s bull run approaching nine years old and the major markets still at or near new all-time highs. Judging by the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq, short sellers had mixed feelings in that time.
While the short interest moves among these stocks were mixed overall, the downswings were more common than the upward moves. However, few moves among the stocks at the top of the list were especially sizable.
Note that still just three Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short as of the end of last month.
The more than 228.79 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short after the two weeks to November 30 represented a gain of over 12 million from the previous settlement date, which was the lowest level of short interest so far this year. The latest reading totaled 16.1% of the available float. The average daily volume dwindled in the period, so the days to cover rose from about 12 to more than 16.
There has been speculation recently over whether Sirius might buy Pandora Media. The stock ended the short interest period almost 2% lower than where it began it, though it has more than recovered that much since then. The Nasdaq also rose less than 2% between the settlement dates. Sirius shares closed most recently at $5.64 apiece. That is less than the 52-week high of $5.89 seen near the end of July. The 52-week low of $4.40 was reached almost a year ago.
By the end of November, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had about 177.02 million shares short. That was growth of more than 2% from the total on the previous settlement date, but it represented 19.6% of the company’s float. It was also the greatest level of short interest in the past year. The average daily volume has been lower in only one period this year, and as of the latest posting it would take a more than four days to cover all short positions.
AMD is still a top semiconductor pick at Merrill Lynch. Its November 30 share price was more than 3% lower than on the previous settlement date, though the shares were up about 4% at one point in the period. The stock closed trading on Monday at $10.16 a share, which is about 16% lower than six months ago. Shares have changed hands at between $9.42 and $15.65 apiece in the past year.
More than 147.64 million Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) shares were sold short as of the most recent settlement date. The figure shrank by more than a million from the greatest level of short interest in at least the past year. And it represented 3.2% of the company’s float. As of the end of last month, it would take more than five days for investors to cover all short positions.
Massive spending on the cloud is expected to benefit Intel. The stock ended the short interest period about 2% lower, though it was down more than 4% at one point. Intel closed most recently at $43.66 a share, down from last month’s 52-week high of $47.30. The 52-week low is $33.23. The share price now is more than 22% higher than six months ago.