In the final weeks of January, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit the 20,000 milestone for the first time, and Donald Trump was sworn in at the 45 president of the United States. There were some notable moves in the most shorted stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange between the January 13 and January 31 settlement dates, as short sellers appear to be repositioning themselves for the weeks and months ahead.
Those changes include a new king of the hill among the most shorted NYSE stocks, as well as a long-time short seller favorite that may be on its way out of the top 10.
Note that the top five stocks on the list all still had more than 100 million shares short at the end of the most recent settlement period.
The new king of the hill is Weatherford International PLC (WFT). Following three consecutive periods of little change, the number of shares short jumped about 14% to over 121.90 million. That figure represented 12.6% of this oil and gas driller’s total float. At the most current daily average, it would take about seven days to cover all the short positions.
Weatherford saw an analyst downgrade in late January. Its shares ended the two-week period about 1% lower, though they were up 3% three times in the period. The stock closed most recently at $5.96. That still is more than 19% higher year to date, though. The share price has ranged from $3.73 to $8.49 in the past 52 weeks.