Now the company is scrambling to sell assets to keep creditors at bay and fund its capital spending programs. Short-sellers think that the continuing weakness in natural gas prices will make Chesapeake's funding plans hard to accomplish. Low gas prices reduce the company's cash flow and reduce the value of any assets the company would like to sell.
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Short interest fell by four million shares from the end of May through the middle of June to around 90 million, perhaps due to a change in the make-up of the company's board of directors, and the recent announcement that the company will raise several billion dollars through the sale of some pipeline assets. Still, the slightly smaller short position is high enough to rank Chesapeake as one of the most heavily shorted stocks on the
As of the most recently reported quarter, Chesapeake was one of
T. Boone Pickens' holdings
(MSFT - Get Report)
saw short interest rise more than 15% in just the two weeks ended mid-June. There are now more than 100 million shares held short in each stock, and shorts are targeting them for the same reason.
Apple's iPad has surely upended the computer world. It's become increasingly apparent that consumers are growing fond of tablets instead of PCs to consume their voracious appetite for web content.
In response, pc makers such as
and others are rolling out sleek "ultra-books" that are fast, lightweight and packed with features. Microsoft and Intel would get a huge lift if ultra-books were a hit, because they are the key software and chip providers, respectively.
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Short-sellers are not on board with this vision. They think that ultra-books will not see huge demand, especially since they cost 50% more than a basic laptop or the iPad.
Shorts are also focusing on another issue. They note that Microsoft is on the cusp of a major release of its next major operating system, Windows 8. History has shown that corporate buyers tend to hold off on purchases of computers if they know a new version will soon be coming. That's why some think Microsoft and Intel will note a slowdown in demand this summer.
Short-sellers may be hoping it's an extended delay. These corporate buyers often like to wait another quarter or two after a new software operating system has been released, just to be sure all of the bugs have been worked out.