The most recent short interest data was recently released for the 03/31/2016 settlement date, and Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc (HOS - Get Report) is one of the most shorted stocks of the Russell 3000, based on 8.00 "days to cover" versus the median component at 6.18. There are a number of ways to look at short data, but one metric that we find particularly useful is the "days to cover" because it considers both the total shares short and the average daily volume of shares typically traded. The number of shares short is then divided by the average daily volume, to express the total number of trading days it would take to close out all of the open short positions if every share traded represented a short position being closed.

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In the case of Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc ( HOS - Get Report), the total short interest at the 03/31/2016 settlement date was 7,465,027 shares, which compares to the average daily trading volume of just 932,831 shares, for a "days to cover" ratio of 8.00.

When short sellers eventually cover their positions, by definition there must be buying activity because a share that is currently sold short must be purchased to be covered. At the present levels of short interest, if from this point forward every single HOS share traded represented a short position being closed, then at the average daily volume of 932,831 shares it would only be during the 8th trading day that every short position would be closed.

So it would stand to reason that should some unexpectedly good news come out, and short sellers did not have 8 days of patience but instead wanted to cover their short positions very suddenly, that situation could result in sending the stock higher until the higher price produces enough sellers to generate the necessary volume to close out those positions quickly.

Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc ( HOS - Get Report) has something relatively rare for a stock with this much short interest, that being insiders taking the other side of the trade. Looking back over the trailing six month period, HOS has seen 4 different instances of insider buying, as summarized by the table below:

Purchased Insider Title Shares Price/Share Value
12/18/2015 James O. Harp Jr. Executive Vice President & CFO 10,000 $8.50 $85,000.00
01/07/2016 Carl G. Annessa Executive Vice President & COO 10,000 $7.99 $79,900.00
01/08/2016 Todd M. Hornbeck President & CEO 12,196 $8.20 $100,007.20
01/12/2016 Carl G. Annessa Executive Vice President & COO 10,000 $7.49 $74,900.00
01/12/2016 James O. Harp Jr. Executive Vice President & CFO 10,000 $7.50 $75,000.00
01/20/2016 Carl G. Annessa Executive Vice President & COO 20,000 $6.74 $134,800.00
01/20/2016 James O. Harp Jr. Executive Vice President & CFO 10,000 $6.50 $65,000.00
02/23/2016 Patricia B. Melcher Director 7,000 $7.00 $49,000.00

Below is a chart showing the "days to cover" for HOS over time:

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And looking at the chart below, HOS's low point in its 52 week range is $5.58 per share, with $22.22 as the 52 week high point — that compares with a last trade of $8.57.

Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc Moving Averages Chart

In recent trading, shares of Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc ( HOS - Get Report) were changing hands at $8.57/share.