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The 6 Most Shorted Nasdaq Stocks

Even as the market’s bull run is approaching nine years old, the markets have continued to reach new all-time highs. Judging by the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq between the October 13 and October 31 settlement dates, short sellers remained selective, by and large.

Overall the short interest moves among these stocks were mixed, with only modest changes among the stocks at the top of the list. Further down the list, however, there were some big swings, such as a double-digit percentage drop in Comcast shares short. In addition, a women’s health company jumped into the top 10, where it appeared for the first time.

Note that still just three Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short as of Halloween.

Sirius XM

The nearly 223.13 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares short after the two weeks to October 31 were almost 4 million less than on the previous settlement date, and that was the lowest level of short interest so far this year. The latest reading represented 15.7% of the total float. The average daily volume rose again in the period, so the days to cover slipped from more than 15 to around 13.

During the period, Sirius posted subscriber net additions that were lower than expected. The stock ended the short interest period almost 5% lower than where it began it, though it had been up marginally earlier in the period. The Nasdaq rose less than 2% between the settlement dates. Sirius shares closed most recently at $5.31 apiece. That is less than the 52-week high of $5.89 seen near the end of July. The 52-week low of $4.22 was reached almost a year ago.

AMD

By the end of October, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 154.97 million shares short. That was growth of more than 4% from the total on the previous settlement date, and it represented 17.6% of the company’s float. It would take a little more than three days to cover all short positions. The highest level of short interest this year was over 160 million shares, or 18.2% of the float.

Despite the run up in the industry, AMD still is expected have momentum into 2018. The October 31 share price was more than 22% lower than on the previous settlement date, though the shares have recovered a little since then. The stock closed trading on Thursday at $11.12, which is more than 9% higher than six months ago. Shares have changed hands at between $6.22 and $15.65 apiece in the past year.

Intel

More than 134.9 million Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) shares were sold short as of the most recent settlement date. Again that was the greatest level of short interest in at least the past year, as the figure grew by around 3 million shares, or more than 2%. And it represented 2.9% of the company’s float. As of the end of last month, it would take more than four days for investors to cover all short positions.

Shares of this semiconductor giant hit a 17-year high late last month. The stock ended the short interest period with about a 16% gain, and it climbed a bit more after that. Intel closed most recently at $46.30 a share, down from a recent 52-week high of $47.30. The 52-week low is $33.23. The share price now is more than 27% higher than at the beginning of the year.

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Mattel

Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) saw the number of its shares short grow for the ninth consecutive period, most recently by nearly 7%. The more than 76.79 million shares reported for the end of last month represented 22.4% of the toymaker’s total float, and it was the highest number in the past year. As the average daily trading volume surged, days to cover fell from almost 10 to less than three in the period.

The toy maker offered up disappointing quarterly results between the settlement dates. In the final two weeks of last month, Mattel shares dropped more than 10%, and they retreated even further afterward. The most recent closing stock price was $13.93, which is down about 38% in the past six months. In the past year, the shares have traded between $12.71 and $32.48 apiece.

Synergy Pharmaceuticals

Short interest at Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SGYP) totaled over 68.88 million shares on October 31, after a gain of a bit more than 3% from on the prior settlement date. That represented a whopping 30.7% of the total float and was the greatest level of short interest so far this year. The days to cover dropped from less than 10 to more than 12 during the latest period as the average daily volume shrank.

This biopharmaceutical company is focused on treatments for constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Short sellers watched the stock pull back more than 14% but then recover just a little by the conclusion of those two weeks. The most recent closing share price was $2.97, which is more than 26% lower than it was six months ago. The shares have changed hands between $2.56 and $7.15 apiece in the past year.

Opko Health

Opko Health Inc.’s (NASDAQ: OPK) short interest retreated more than 10% from in the previous period to more than 63.99 million shares on the most recent settlement date. That was the first time since January that it was less than 70 million, and it represented 19.4% of the total float. The daily average trading volume continued to decline, but the days to cover number ticked down to less than 19.

For well more than a year, the CEO frequently has bought batches of Opko shares. The stock closed most recently at $5.41 a share, in a 52-week trading range of $5.35 to $12.15. By the end of the two-week short-interest period, the share price was a little more than 3% lower. It has retreated much more than that since then. The stock currently is more than 10% lower than it was six months ago.

And Others

Rounding out the top 10 were Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA), TherapeuticsMD Inc. (NASDAQ: TXMD), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU). The big mover here was the women’s health-focused company, TherapeuticsMD, with a more than 35% jump in short interest. Note that the stock only recently began trading on the Nasdaq.

Comcast, on the other hand, saw the number of its shares short shrink by about 12%. Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) slipped out of the top 10 with a modest decline in its short interest. Meanwhile, JD.com Inc. (NASDAQ: JD) also saw a double-digit percentage rise in short interest, but that was not enough to lift it into the top 10 most shorted Nasdaq stocks last month.

By Trey Thoelcke


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