Short interest at Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SGYP) totaled over 80.41 million shares by mid-January, after a gain of less than 5 million from on the prior settlement date. Still, that represented a whopping 32.7% of the total float, and it was the fifth consecutive period with more than 70 million. The days to cover shrank from about 14 to less than 12 during the latest period as the average daily volume ended four consecutive periods of decline.
This biopharmaceutical company is focused on treatments for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Short sellers watched the stock climb more than 11%, fall almost 8% into the red, but then end those two weeks up more than 6%. The most recent closing share price was $2.54, which is more than 3% higher year to date. The shares have changed hands between $1.68 and $7.15 apiece in the past year.
The number of Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) shares short totaled more than 65.83 million on the latest settlement date. That was up around 15% from two weeks earlier to the highest level in at least a year, and it represented 5.0% of the total float. The average daily trading volume grew as well, though the days to cover figure remained at a more than one.
Baird sees Micron as a best idea technology pick for 2018. By the end of the short-interest period, the share price was about 3% higher, despite being up nearly 13% earlier in the month. The stock ended Wednesday’s trading at $43.08 a share, in a 52-week range of $22.64 to $49.89. The share price currently is about 36% higher than it was six months ago.
Comcast Corp.’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) short interest barely grew from in the previous period to more than 64.40 million shares on the most recent settlement date. Still, that was the highest number of shares short since November, and it represented 1.4% of the total float. The days to cover figure slipped a little but remained more than three. Note that the 52-week peak in short interest was more than 78 million shares last May.
Comcast has been recognized as one of the most hated companies in America. Short sellers watched the stock rise more than 5%, but with most of that gain coming in the last couple of days in the two-week period. The stock retreated a bit afterward and closed most recently at $42.99. That is still up about 9% in the past six months. The 52-week trading range is $34.78 to $44.00.
Rounding out the top 10 were Opko Health Inc. (NASDAQ: OPK), Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT), TherapeuticsMD Inc. (NASDAQ: TXMD) and Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO). The only one of these four that had a rise in short interest in the first two weeks of the year was Cisco. The downswings at Mattel and Opko were marginal.
Note that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) saw a modest rise in its total shares short, but that was not enough to lift it onto 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) and Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX).