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Amazon Short Interest Soars to Year-to-Date High 4 Million

Like much of the technology sector, Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) shares retreated during February and into early March. And like the Nasdaq, the stock got a nice bump on Tuesday on anticipation of the passing of the stimulus bill. So far, Amazon has held on to its valuation of more than a trillion dollars, with the market cap last seen at about $1.5 trillion.

So are there sellers willing to short Amazon’s stock?

The more than 4.31 million Amazon shares short as of February 26, the most recent settlement date, were 13.7% more than the figure two weeks earlier, as well as the greatest number in almost a year. That was also almost as much as the 4.40 million reported a year ago, and it represented about 1.0% 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 more than a day to cover all the short positions.

Citigroup maintained its Buy rating on the stock during the short interest period. Earlier in February, Barclays and Credit Suisse reiterated Buy ratings, while Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Oppenheimer boosted their price targets to $4,500, $4,400 and $4,100, respectively. That would be up to around a 47% gain from the most recent close.

Note though that a couple of the ARK Invest exchange-traded funds run by ETF star Cathie Wood sold Amazon shares late last month. Specifically, the ARK Fintech Innovation ETF (NYSEARCA: ARKF) parted with more than 7,200 shares near the end of the month. The ARK Autonomous Technology & Robotics ETF (NYSEARCA: ARKQ) shed more than 7,800 shares, including some on the final trading day of the month.

ARK Invest has been the talk of Wall Street over the past couple of years, outperforming the market and solidifying its place among the big players in the investing world. Founder Wood even has been compared to the likes of Warren Buffett.

Amazon shares ended the short interest period with about a 5% decline, though they had been up less than 2% earlier in the period. The stock retreated a little more after the settlement date, but almost recovered on Tuesday. Note that the Nasdaq pulled back almost 6% in the two-week short interest period.

Amazon stock ended Tuesday’s trading session at $3,062.85 a share. That is well up from the 52-week low of $1,626.03 seen last March, but it is still short of the $3,552.25 52-week high reached back in September. The latest share price is down about 6% from the beginning of the year, while the Nasdaq has gained less than 2% in that time.