Investing

Apple Overtakes Pfizer as Most Shorted Dow Stock

Pfizer
> Shares short: 47.57 million
> Change from prior period: −26.9%
> Percentage of float: 0.9

This is the fifth double-digit percentage decline in a row, which finally allowed Pfizer to slip from the top spot on the list. Short interest continues to retreat after the almost 265% rise in early January to the greatest number of shares short at Pfizer so far this year. At the daily average volume on the most recent settlement date, it would take about two days for Pfizer short sellers to cover their positions.

Pfizer also posted better than expected quarterly results at the end of the month. That helped the shares recover, to some extent, from a more than 7% retreat earlier in the period. While the Pfizer shares ended down about 2%, the Dow saw a gain of around 1% between the settlement dates.

Shares closed Thursday’s trading at $40.64 apiece, more than 1% lower than a week ago. Pfizer’s 52-week low of $34.89 was seen about a year ago, and the 52-week high of $46.47 was from this past December. The stock now is almost 7% lower than at the beginning of the year.

And the Rest

Rounding out the top six most shorted Dow stocks on the most recent settlement date were Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM). While short sellers shied away from the three stocks at the top of the list, these three runners-up saw at least some gain in the numbers of shares short in the period. Of these three, only Microsoft saw a significant increase in share price during the two weeks, much of that gain following its earnings report and the market cap hitting $1 trillion.

Also notice on the following list of the most shorted Dow stocks as of April 30 the big swings at Chevron (in a bidding war), Coca-Cola (earnings surprise), Disney (Avengers movie release) and Merck (Pfizer’s peer):

Dow Stock Short (millions) Change % Float
Apple 52.67 −13.7% 1.1%
Intel 50.53 −3.0% 1.1%
Pfizer 47.57 −26.9% 0.9%
Microsoft 44.89 4.6% 0.6%
Cisco 39.89 0.6% 0.9%
Exxon 37.87 3.4% 0.9%
Chevron 28.45 67.3% 1.5%
Verizon 28.32 1.0% 0.7%
Coca-Cola 27.14 22.4% 0.6%
Visa 26.77 −5.8% 1.5%
Walgreens 22.62 −15.9% 3.0%
JPMorgan 21.86 15.8% 0.7%
Procter & Gamble 20.16 −4.0% 0.8%
Disney 18.80 34.6% 1.0%
Walmart 16.07 −1.5% 1.1%
Merck 14.32 −35.8% 0.6%
IBM 14.15 −1.0% 1.6%
Johnson & Johnson 12.77 13.6% 0.5%
Home Depot 9.74 1.4% 0.9%
Nike 9.41 −1.0% 0.8%
3M 8.48 −8.4% 1.5%
United Technologies 8.16 9.3% 1.0%
Dow 7.54 −3.0 1.0%
Caterpillar 6.67 13.5% 1.2%
UnitedHealth 6.59 18.1% 0.7%
American Express 6.38 −1.1% 0.8%
McDonald’s 6.16 4.9% 0.8%
Boeing 5.31 −0.6% 1.0%
Goldman Sachs 5.13 −12.6% 1.5%
Travelers 3.20 −16.6% 1.2%