> Shares short: More than 96.83 million
> Change from prior period: +142.7%
> Percentage of float: 2.1
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) leaped back into the top six most shorted Nasdaq stocks in the latter weeks of last month, with shares short more than doubling from the previous period. Yet, the average daily trading volume fell to a year-to-date low, and the number of days it would take for investors to cover all their short positions grew from less than two to more than four.
During the short interest period, it looked increasingly like the iPhone maker’s problems might be worse than expected. Short sellers watched the share price rise almost 3% but give up about half that gain by the most recent settlement date. Again, the Nasdaq saw a gain of less than 2% during those two weeks.
After climbing about 2% last week, Apple stock ended trading most recently at $178.90 a share. That was in a 52-week range of $142.00 (at the beginning of this year) to $233.47 (last October). The share price currently is more than 13% higher than at the beginning of this year.
> Shares short: More than 79.18 million
> Change from prior period: +9.2%
> Percentage of float: 20.9
Novavax Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) got knocked down a peg due to the rise of Apple, despite the notable increase in its short interest. The most recent figure did represent the greatest number of shares short in the past year. The average daily trading volume surged during the period, and the days to cover figure decreased from almost 10 to around four.
This Maryland-based vaccine maker posted disappointing late-stage trial results late in February. The share price tumbled more than 65% on the last day of the short interest period, though it had spent almost no time in positive territory during those two weeks.
Now trading in penny stock territory, Novavax ended trading most recently at about $0.51 a share. That falls within a trading range of $0.49 to $2.58 in the past 52 weeks. The share price currently is more than 72% lower than at the beginning of this year.
> Shares short: More than 73.80 million
> Change from prior period: +13.7%
> Percentage of float: 20.4
The number of Opko Health Inc.’s (NASDAQ: OPK) shares sold short reached a year-to-date high by the settlement date. But the average daily volume shrank somewhat in that two-week period, so it would take about 12 days for investors to cover all their short positions as of the end of the month.
Opko reported mixed fourth-quarter and full-year results late last month. The stock ended the short interest period with a decline of around 11%, most of the retreat following the earnings report. The share price did recover somewhat afterward, before losing momentum.
Shares closed most recently at $2.57 a share, after pulling back about 4% in the past week and down more than 14% so far this year. The stock has traded hands at between $2.34 (seen back in December) and $6.40 (last summer) per share in the past 52 weeks.
Rounding out the top 10 were TherapeuticsMD Inc. (NASDAQ: TXMD), Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT), Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and JD.com Inc. (NASDAQ: JD). All four saw gains in the numbers of their shares short, led by the double-digit percentage rise at JD.com.
Lingering outside the spotlight of the top 10 most shorted Nasdaq stocks this time were Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) and Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC). Note that short sellers got out of the way on Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU) and Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) allowing them to drop further from the top 10.