August is often a period of summer doldrums in the stock markets. Yet this year, those investors, traders, analysts and others who haven’t gone away on holiday have seen the markets reclaiming all-time highs (in a record bull run), an earnings season that was stronger than many expected, and an economy that is strong despite budding trade wars and rising rates and inflation.
Judging by the most shorted stocks traded on the Nasdaq between the July 31 and August 15 settlement dates, those sellers were focused on just one favorite. While all others at the top of the list saw shrinking short interest, in Caesars Entertainment it grew by nearly 20%.
Note that still just two Nasdaq stocks had more than 100 million shares short as of the most recent settlement date.
The nearly 192.89 million Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI) shares held short after the first two weeks of this month were less than 2% fewer than on the previous settlement date, or 14.6% of the available float. It was also only the third time in at least a year that the short interest was less than 200 million. The average daily volume rose a little in the period, and the days to cover remained at more than 14.
Sirius remains a holding at Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The stock ended the short interest period trading more than 1% lower, though it has risen marginally since then. The Nasdaq was up about 1% between the settlement dates. Sirius stock closed at $6.96 on Friday. The 52-week low of $5.17 was reached early this year, while the $7.70 multiyear high was seen back in June.
By the middle of August, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD) had more than 146.32 million shares short. That was