> Shares short: Over 119.47 million
> Change from prior period: +5.7%
> Percentage of float: 39.6%
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) also climbed the most-shorted list during the latest two-week period. This gain ended five straight periods of shrinking short interest. It would take about seven days for sellers to cover their short positions after the latest daily average trading volume surged to a year-to-date high.
This struggling retailer posted mixed quarterly results and announced more store closures last month. Its share price spiked more than 25% late in the period but ended the month with a gain of less than 17%. The stock regained its moment after the beginning of this month.
In the past week, the shares are up 14% more and closed most recently at $1.81 apiece. That is around 74% higher year to date. The 52-week low, which was seen late last year, was $0.92, while the 52-week high of $3.54 was reached last April.
> Shares short: Nearly 117.31 million
> Change from prior period: −8.2%
> Percentage of float: 17.8
Despite this shrinkage in the number of its shares short, Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) stayed put in its spot on the most shorted list in the most recent period. And it followed a nearly 12% decline in this social media and camera company’s short interest in the prior period. At the end-of-month daily average trading volume, it would take about four days for investors to cover all short positions.
The company posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results early last month. The shares ended the latest short interest period almost 7% higher, though they had been up more than 12% earlier in those two weeks. The share price increased a bit more after the settlement date.
The shares were last seen trading at $9.96 apiece. That compares to the 52-week low of $4.82 reached back in December. The 52-week high, seen about a year ago, was $18.35 a share. The stock now is up more than 80% since the beginning of the year.
> Shares short: More than 114.73 million
> Change from prior period: +0.5%
> Percentage of float: 4.4
Even with little change in its short interest, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) ticked up this list between the settlement dates. And this was the second highest number of its short shares so far this year. At the daily average trading volume on the most recent settlement date, the days to cover figure was eight, up from less than five in the prior period.
Alibaba and Office Depot have announced a partnership. Short sellers watched Alibaba shares jump more than 8% by the end of the month, with most of the gain coming in the middle of the period. Again, the S&P 500 saw a gain of a little more than 1% during the short interest period.
The stock closed at $ 180.41 a share on Monday, which is down from a multiyear high of $211.70 reached last summer. The 52-week low, seen on Christmas Eve, was $129.77 a share. The stock has gained more than 31% since the beginning of 2019.
And the Rest
Rounding out the top 10 were General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) and Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY). Like Pfizer in the prior period, peer Eli Lilly rode its own surge in short interest — about 194% — onto the list of the 10 most shorted NYSE stocks. GE dropped out of the top six with the only short interest decline among these four.
Lingering outside the spotlight of the top 10 at the end of February were Weatherford International PLC (NYSE: WFT), Energy Transfer L.P. (NYSE: ET) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S).