Investors and traders hoping for the selling and volatility of October to settle down in November were likely disappointed. Some sectors and many individual stocks remained in bearish territory. And there continued to be plenty to worry about, including falling energy prices, rising interest rates, weakness in international markets, growing effects of the trade war with China and a mixed bag from corporate earnings, not to mention the midterm elections early in the month and the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Judging by the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq between the October 31 and November 15 settlement dates, those sellers gave up on Starbucks, many turning their eye to Comcast and Intel. Moves among the others at the top of the list during those two weeks were mostly modest.
Note that just two Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short as of the most recent settlement date.
The more than 202.44 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares held short after the initial two weeks of this month were less than 5% higher than on the previous settlement date, or 15.9% of the available float. The average daily volume decreased marginally from in the prior period, and the days to cover rose to more than seven. Note that short interest was less than 200 million in seven of the past eight periods.
Some analysts have predicted a year-end rally for Sirius. The stock ended the first two weeks of this month trading more than 4% higher, though it pulled back somewhat afterward. The Nasdaq slipped by about 2% between the settlement dates. Sirius stock closed at $6.10 on Tuesday, which is more than 12% lower than 90 days ago. 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 middle of November, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had almost 120.75 million shares short. That was less than 6 million fewer than the total on the previous settlement date, which was the lowest level of short interest in the past year. The latest reading still represented 13.0% of the company’s float. And though the average daily volume retreated for the fourth straight time, the number of days it would take to cover all short positions remained around one.
During the period, Merrill Lynch saw plenty of opportunity ahead for AMD. Short sellers watched the share price increase nearly 20% but then pull back marginally in those two weeks. The stock closed trading most recently at $21.05 a share, which is about 16% lower than three months ago, as well as down from September’s 52-week high of $34.14. Shares have changed hands at as low as $9.04 apiece in the past year.
The short interest in Caesars Entertainment Corp. (NASDAQ: CZR) pulled back for the third consecutive period. The number of shares short shrank by more than 3 million most recently. The more than 98.55 million shares posted for the latest settlement date represented 17.8% of the total float, and it ended five consecutive periods with more than 100 million shares short. The days-to-cover figure rose from more than three to over four as the average daily volume shrank from a year-to-date high.
To some, Caesars seemed well positioned to rebound after the volatility in October. But its share price ended the initial two weeks of the month nearly 2% lower, despite being up almost 13% at one point. The stock ended Tuesday’s session at $8.59 per share, which is down more than 17% over the past 90 days. Its 52-week trading range is $7.95 to $14.50, and that low was seen at the end of last month.
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