Investing

The 5 Most Shorted Dow Stocks

Microsoft

> Shares short: more than 36.46 million
> Change from prior period: 23.0%
> Percentage of float: 0.5

With this notable bump in its short interest, the maker of Windows, Office and the Xbox lands in the third spot on the most shorted Dow components list. Short interest was at a 52-week low in the prior period. At the average daily volume on the latest settlement date, it would take investors more than a day to cover their short interest.

Microsoft was one of the few companies chasing Apple in the top market cap club. Short sellers watched the share price climb more than 7% during the period, though it had been up about 10% at one point. It has pulled back since then. Note that the Dow ended the latter half of last month up less than 2%.

After a pullback of over 5% in the past week, Microsoft stock closed trading most recently at $205.37 a share. That was in a 52-week range of $232.86 (last week) to $132.52 (in March). The most recent share price is more than 29% higher since the year-to-date low in March, compared to a gain of more than 41% in the Nasdaq in that time.

And the Rest

Rounding out the top five most shorted Dow stocks on the most recent settlement date were Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). The share price of each was little changed by the end of those two weeks. Yet, the former saw a modest rise in its short interest in that time, in the wake of a disappointing quarterly report, while short sellers yielded just a bit on the other, which is seen as a safe harbor stock.

On the following list of short interest changes in the Dow stocks as of August 31, note the number of companies that saw sizable increases in their short interest, including Boeing, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, McDonald’s and Walmart. Short sellers appear to have thrown off the caution they displayed in the previous period.

Dow Stock Short (millions) Change % Float
Intel 173.52 315.40% 4.08%
Apple 79.68 236.81% 0.47%
Microsoft 36.46 23.03% 0.49%
Cisco 31.40 5.32% 0.74%
Verizon 30.06 −0.90% 0.73%
Visa 28.36 8.01% 1.68%
IBM 22.63 4.76% 2.54%
Disney 22.45 −9.02% 1.24%
JPMorgan 22.29 9.78% 0.74%
Walmart 20.05 17.08% 1.23%
Coca-Cola 19.63 −9.00% 0.46%
Walgreens 19.04 8.53% 2.65%
Chevron 18.86 9.14% 1.01%
Dow 14.59 −7.65% 1.97%
Procter & Gamble 14.44 4.64% 0.58%
Salesforce 12.45 15.45% 1.42%
Merck 12.11 2.63% 0.48%
American Express 11.08 11.91% 1.38%
Johnson & Johnson 10.56 11.89% 0.40%
Nike 10.36 2.26% 1.07%
Boeing 9.18 14.02% 1.63%
3M 7.71 15.50% 1.34%
Home Depot 7.36 19.54% 0.68%
Caterpillar 7.00 12.03% 1.29%
McDonald’s 6.89 13.67% 0.93%
Amgen 6.20 41.44% 1.06%
Honeywell 5.66 16.35% 0.81%
UnitedHealth 5.57 1.88% 0.59%
Travelers 5.07 9.80% 2.01%
Goldman Sachs 4.82 23.11% 1.46%