Retail

Amazon Short Interest Rises to 6-Month High

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) recently posted strong fourth-quarter results, with earnings per share more than doubling year over year and revenue at its cloud computing segment up 28%. Between that and the recent wild short squeezes, one might wonder who would be willing to short Amazon’s stock.

The more than 3.31 million Amazon shares short at the end of January were less than 5.5% more than the figure on the previous settlement date but the greatest number since last July. That represented 0.8% of the total float. Note that the number of shares short has ranged between almost 5 million (last April) and around 2 million (August) in the past year. At the average daily volume at the end of the latest period, it would take less than a day to cover all the short positions.

During the period, Amazon faced a unionization vote sanctioned by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) at the company’s fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama. Workers were seeking an election to determine if they should be represented by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union. Voting began this week, and votes will be counted on March 29. Amazon has challenged the vote, no doubt wishing to avoid a domino effect at its other operations around the country and the world.

Last month, Amazon announced its first-ever aircraft purchase as it expands its Amazon Air fleet. Currently, Amazon leases all the airplanes in its fleet and operates them under contracts with other providers. Some experts have estimated that Amazon’s fleet would rise to around 200 aircraft by the end of this year.

The Jefferies internet team recently recommended staying with mega-cap leaders for 2021, and Amazon was one of its top picks. The team had a $4,000 a share price target on the stock, which would be more than 20% upside from the most recent close.

Shares ended the short interest period with more than a 2% gain, though they had been up over 7% earlier in the period. The stock went higher after the settlement date. Note that the Nasdaq rose only about 1% between the most recent settlement dates.

Amazon stock was last seen trading at $3,305.00 a share. That is more than double the 52-week low of $1,626.03 from last March, but it is also short of the $3,552.25 52-week high seen back in September. The latest share price is down less than 2% since the beginning of the year, while the Nasdaq has gained almost 9% in that time.