Investing

The 6 Most Shorted NYSE Stocks

Bank of America

Bank of America Corp.’s (NYSE: BAC) short interest in the latest two-week period jumped more than 11% to over 151.13 million shares. That was the second double-digit percentage rise in a row, and it represents 1.6% of the total float. It was also the seventh consecutive period in which the number of shares short was more than 100 million. It would take at least two days to cover all short positions, as of mid-December.

This money center bank recently has seen some price target hikes from analysts. Its share price ended the latest settlement period with a gain of almost 3%, most of that gain coming in the beginning of the month. The stock closed most recently at $29.72 a share. That is more than 27% higher than six months ago. The shares have changed hands between $ 21.77 and $30.03 apiece in the past year.

Weatherford

Weatherford International PLC (NYSE: WFT) slipped a couple of spots down the list as the number of its shares short dwindled more than 12% in the first two weeks of December. That was a drop from the highest level of short interest so far this year. The more than 147.69 million shares reported most recently represented 15.1% of the total float. The days to cover reading ended the period at around eight as the average daily volume declined again.

At least one analyst recently anticipated that the Weatherford share price could almost double. Short sellers watched the share price jump about 10% but give up almost all that gain by the latest settlement date. In those two weeks, the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw a gain of more than 2%. The stock was last seen trading at $4.05 a share, up from a 52-week low of $3.08 in late November. The 52-week high, from last March, was $7.09.

J.C. Penney

The number of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) shares short grew from over 133.78 million in the previous period to less than 136.58 million. That was a rise from the lowest short interest since August, as well as a whopping 47.1% of the struggling retailer’s float. Note too that short interest has been above 100 million for 18 periods in a row. The daily average trading volume also increased a bit during the period, but the days to cover remained about nine.

J.C. Penney continues to search for the elusive turnaround. Its share price rose more than 16% but gave up much of that gain during the short interest period. It continued to retreat afterward and closed most recently at $3.23 a share. That is down about 33% from six months ago. The 52-week low, seen last month, was $2.35, while the 52-week high of $8.80 was reached almost a year ago.

And the Rest

Rounding out the top 10 were Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) and Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP). The only short interest gain here was at Ford, but it was a modest gain. The largest downswing in the other three was seen at Snap.

Short sellers backed off of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) too, so it remains outside the spotlight of the top 10 most shorted NYSE stocks. Not far away are Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) and Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG).

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