Increasing fears of trade wars with China and other U.S. allies, not to mention rising interest rates, haven’t done the markets any favors since the end of May. While the Nasdaq has shown a little sign of life since then, the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 have been essentially flat. And volatility has not gone away either.
Judging by the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq between the May 31 and June 15 settlement dates, those sellers were increasing their bets, as most of the stocks at the top of the list saw increasing numbers of their shares sold short, with a top casino operator leading the way during the period.
Note that still just two Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short as of the most recent settlement date.
The more than 218.26 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short after the initial two weeks of this month was 5% or so more than on the previous settlement date. It was the highest level of short interest since March, and it totaled 16.7% of the available float. The average daily volume shrank for the second period in a row, increasing the days to cover from more than 12 to over 15.
Sirius offered live coverage of both the U.S. Open and the Triple Crown. The stock ended the short interest period trading more than 6% higher, though it has retreated again since then. The Nasdaq increased less than 3% between the settlement dates. Sirius stock closed at $6.92 on Tuesday. The 52-week low of $5.17 was reached early this year, while the $7.70 multiyear high was seen last week.
By the middle of June, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had around 172.02 million shares short. That was 2.5 million or so less than the total on the previous settlement date, and it was the lowest level of short interest since February. The latest reading still represented 19.0% of the company’s float. The average daily volume jumped sharply, and the number of days it would take to cover all short positions slipped from more than three to about two.
Some analysts see rising demand in gaming as benefitting AMD. Its shares did end the latest short interest period more than 17% higher, and it too has pulled back since then. The stock closed trading most recently at $15.50 a share, which is more than 19% higher year to date. Shares have changed hands at between $9.04 and $17.34 apiece in the past year.
Short interest at Neovasc Inc. (NASDAQ: NVCN) totaled more than 93.90 million shares by the middle of this month, after pulling back around 4% from a 52-week high on the prior settlement date. That was the second greatest level of short interest in the past year. The days to cover jumped to more than four during the latest period as the average daily volume shrank sharply.
This Canadian cardiovascular device maker announced a new board chair during the period. Short sellers watched the stock rise almost 15% (less than a penny per share) but then end those two weeks just about 6% higher, though it has climbed again since then. The most recent closing share price was about $0.04, about a penny more than the 52-week low. Shares are around 93% (more than 50 cents) lower year to date and so don’t appear to have much further to sink. The stock has traded as high as $1.89 a share in the past year.