While the beginning of April marked the start of a new calendar quarter, the new earnings reporting season didn’t kick off until the middle of the month. Judging by the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq between the March 29 and April 13 settlement dates, those sellers were focused on a couple of favorites before the quarterly reports started rolling out.
One of those foci was Comcast, with a double-digit percentage gain in the number of its shares short, while king of the hill Sirius XM held on to the top spot with a notable increase in short interest. On the other hand, Intel bucked the trend with a decline, albeit a modest one, in its shares held short.
Note that still just two Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short as of the most recent settlement date.
The more than 215.07 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short after the initial two weeks of this month was 7% or so more than on the previous settlement date, which was the lowest level of short interest in the past year. The latest reading totaled 16.3% of the available float. The average daily volume retreated for the sixth period in row, and the days to cover rose to about 15.
Sirius was the exclusive broadcaster from the Coachella festival again this year. The stock ended the latest short interest period trading about where it began it, though it has seen a modest gain since then. The Nasdaq rose about 2% between the settlement dates. Unlike the broader markets, Sirius stock has held its own in the past week and closed at $6.27 most recently. The 52-week low of $4.73 was reached last May, while a $6.61 multiyear high was seen recently.
By the middle of April, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 192.62 million shares short. That was 10.7 million or so more than the total on the previous settlement date, and it was the highest level of short interest in at least a year. The latest reading represented 21.3% of the company’s float. The average daily volume decreased handily, so the number of days it would take to cover all short positions rose from three to about four.
Earlier this month, analysts had differing ideas about where AMD’s stock was headed. Its shares ended the latest short interest period only about 1% lower, though they had been down more than 9% at one point. The stock closed trading most recently at $10.09 a share, which is about 8% lower year to date. Shares have changed hands at between $9.04 and $15.65 apiece in the past year.
More than 86.25 million Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) shares were sold short as of the most recent settlement date. That figure was more than 4% lower than in the prior period, and it represented 1.8% of the chipmaker’s float. The latest reading was the fewest number of shares sold short in the past year. As of mid-month, it would take at least three days for investors to cover all their short positions.
Intel remains a top semiconductor pick despite Wall Street’s caution on the industry. Its April 13 closing share price was about the same as on the previous settlement date, despite being down more than 8% early in the period. Intel closed most recently at $51.45 a share, which compares with last week’s multiyear high of $54.36. The 52-week low is $33.23. And the share price now is almost 10% higher year to date.