Short interest at Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SGYP) totaled over 75.53 million shares on the final trading day of the year, after a gain of less than 900,000 from on the prior settlement date. Still, that represented a whopping 30.7% of the total float, and it was the fourth consecutive period with more than 70 million. The days to cover rose from more than 11 to about 14 during the latest period as the average daily continued to decline.
This biopharmaceutical company is focused on treatments for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Short sellers watched the stock climb more than 16% but then surrender some of that gain by the conclusion of those two weeks. The most recent closing share price was $2.30, which is more than 48% lower than it was six months ago. The shares have changed hands between $1.68 and $7.15 apiece in the past year.
Comcast Corp.’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) short interest grew more than 4% from in the previous period to more than 64.04 million shares on the most recent settlement date. That was the highest number of shares short since November, and it represented 1.4% of the total float. The days to cover figure rose to almost four from about two. Note that the 52-week peak in short interest was more than 78 million shares last May.
Comcast is seen as benefiting from changes to net neutrality. By the end of the short-interest period, the share price was only fractionally higher, despite being up more than 3% earlier in the month. The stock ended Wednesday’s trading at $41.09 a share, in a 52-week trading range of $34.78 to $42.18. The share price currently is about 6% higher than it was six months ago.
The number of Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) shares short totaled almost 57.24 million on the latest settlement date. That was down more than 3% from two weeks earlier, which was an 11-month high, and it represented 5.2% of the total float. The average daily trading volume decreased as well, though the days to cover remained a little more than one.
Analysts were jumping on the Micron bandwagon during the two-week period. Yet short sellers watched the stock rise more than 6% but end up down more than 5% by the end of the month. The stock attempted to recover after the first of the year but lost steam and closed most recently at $43.31. That is up about 42% from six months ago though. The 52-week trading range is $21.49 to $49.89.
Rounding out the top 10 were Opko Health Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK), TherapeuticsMD Inc. (NASDAQ: TXMD), Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) and Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO). The big move here was seen at Cisco, with about a 20% reduction in the number of its shares short. TherapeuticsMD saw a modest rise in short interest, the only gain among these four.
Note that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) also had a double-digit percentage drop in its total shares short, keeping it just out of the top 10 list. Also lingering outside the spotlight of the top 10 most shorted Nasdaq stocks were Ascena Retail Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ASNA), Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN), JD.com Inc. (NASDAQ: JD) and Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX).