After trading lower in early summer, the broader markets have managed modest gains lately and are again trading near all-time highs. Even the Nasdaq, which took a hit last month, is on the rebound, as overall the second-quarter earnings reporting season has been stronger than some had feared because of concerns of rising interest rates and inflation, as well tensions with foreign trading partners.
Judging by the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq between the July 13 and July 31 settlement dates, those sellers were looking for direction, as moves in their favorites were mixed and modest in that time.
Note that still just two Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short as of the most recent settlement date.
The approximately 196.14 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares held short after the first two weeks of this month were about 1% less than on the previous settlement date, or 14.9% of the available float. It was also only the second time in at least a year that the short interest was less than 200 million. The average daily volume rose in the period, shrinking the days to cover from over 17 to less than 15.
Sirius has managed to outrun peak auto concerns, as shown by its latest earnings. The stock ended the short interest period trading more than 1% lower, though it had been up more than 2% at one point. The Nasdaq retreated about 2% between the settlement dates. Sirius stock closed at $7.00 on Thursday. The 52-week low of $5.17 was reached early this year, while the $7.70 multiyear high was seen back in June.
By the end of July, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 167.91 million shares short. That was 6.3 million or so more than the total on the previous settlement date, which was the lowest level of short interest since February. The latest reading still represented 18.1% of the company’s float. Here too, the average daily volume increased sharply, and the number of days it would take to cover all short positions fell from more than three to about two.
Some see AMD as a solid pick for investors for the rest of the year. Its shares ended the latest short interest period more than 11% higher, all of that gain coming after the quarterly report in late July. The stock closed trading most recently at $19.10 a share, which is about 36% higher since the end of May. Shares have changed hands at between $9.04 and $20.18 apiece in the past year.
More than 83.30 million Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) shares were sold short as of the most recent settlement date. That represented 1.8% of the chipmaker’s float and was about the same as in the prior period. Note that, early in the year, short interest was above 100 million. As of the end of last month, it would take more than three days for investors to cover all their short positions, after the average daily volume rose from a year-to-date low.
An earnings beat during the period was not enough to please investors. The July 31 closing share price was more than 7% lower than on the previous settlement date, though it has recovered somewhat since then. Intel closed most recently at $50.14 a share, down from the multiyear high of $57.60 in June. The 52-week low is $34.38 per share. And the share price was last seen about 7% higher year to date.
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