Weatherford International PLC (NYSE: WFT) remains in the third spot on the list though the number of its shares sold short dropped almost 12% in the final two weeks of April. There had been little change in its short interest in the prior two periods. The more than 146.83 million shares reported most recently represented 14.9% of the total float. The days to cover reading ended the two weeks at around six, down from the prior eight.
Some still see big upside potential in Weatherford stock. Short sellers watched the share price rise more than 13% by the end the settlement period, despite being down about 5% at one point. The stock closed most recently at $3.37 a share. That’s up from a 52-week low of $2.07 in early April. The 52-week high, seen almost a year ago, was $5.48. The stock is still down more than 2% year to date.
The reported number of Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD) shares sold short dwindled from more than 147.32 million to over 143.47 million as of the most recent settlement date, adding to the 10% decline in the previous period. The latest figure was 13.6% of the company’s total float. The average daily trading volume shrank again in the most recent period, so the days to cover rose from about 11 to 13. Note that the end-of-March reading of more than 163 million was the highest level of short interest so far this year.
Rite Aid posted a penny per share net loss for the most recently reported quarter put offered solid guidance. Still, its share price retreated more than 8% but then recovered most of that decline during the period. The stock closed on Wednesday at $1.63 a share, which was more than 23% lower compared with the beginning of the year. Rite Aid shares have traded between $1.38 and $4.23 apiece in the past 52 weeks.
After a more than 10% retreat in the prior period, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) saw the number of its shares short in the latter weeks of the month remain essentially flat at more than 129.17 million, which was 3.3% of the iconic automaker’s float. At the average daily volume on the latest settlement date, it would take about three days for sellers to cover all their short positions.
Ford’s first-quarter results were better than analysts had forecast and the report indicated further cost-cutting was in store. The share price ended the latest settlement period about where it began it, after being both up almost 4% and down more than 4% in the interval. The shares closed most recently at $11.06, which is down more than 12% since the beginning of the year. The shares have changed hands between $10.14 and $13.48 apiece in the past 52 weeks.
And the Rest
Rounding out the top 10 were Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA), J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S). Short interest moves among these four were mixed and modest.
Note that CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) failed to crack the top 10 as short sellers took a breather after the previous two consecutive sharp increases in short interest. Also lingering outside the spotlight of the top 10 most shorted NYSE stocks were offshore driller Ensco Corp. (NYSE: ESV) and oilfield contractor McDermott International Inc. (NYSE: MDR).