The most recent short interest data has been released for the 11/30/2017 settlement date, and we here at Dividend Channel like to sift through this fresh data and order the underlying components of the Nasdaq 100 by "days to cover." There are a number of ways to look at short data, for example the total number of shares short; but one metric that we find particularly useful is the "days to cover" metric because it considers both the total shares short and the average daily volume of shares typically traded. The number of shares short is then compared to the average daily volume, in order to calculate 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.In our new rank based on the most recent short interest data, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc ( WBA - Get Report) has taken over the position of #48 most shorted Nasdaq 100 component, from DENTSPLY SIRONA Inc ( XRAY) which is now in the #26 spot. The "days to cover" at 11/30/2017 was 4.03 for WBA, and 5.40 for XRAY; this compares to the average across all Nasdaq 100 components of 4.44 (up from the average back on the 11/15/2017 settlement date of 4.10). The chart below shows the movement over time of the "days to cover" values of both WBA and XRAY, versus the average Nasdaq 100 component. Below is a chart showing the relative positions of WBA versus XRAY over time within the 100 Nasdaq 100 components, with #1 representing the component with the highest "days to cover" value (most heavily shorted) and #100 representing the component with the lowest "days to cover" value (least heavily shorted): A stock with a high "days to cover" value compared to its peers would be considered to have a higher level of short interest as compared to those peers. This could mean short sellers are using the stock to hedge a long bet elsewhere, or could also mean that short sellers believe the price of the stock will decline. 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. So investors tend to keep an eye on that "days to cover" metric, because a high value could predict a sharper price increase should the company put out some unexpectedly good news — short sellers might rush to cover positions, and if the "days to cover" number is high, it is more difficult to close those positions without sending the stock higher until the higher price produces enough sellers to generate the necessary volume. Below is a three month price history chart comparing the stock performance of WBA vs. XRAY: WBA,XRAY makes up 2.95% of the First Trust NASDAQ-100 Ex-Technology Sector Index Fund ETF (QQXT)
TheStreet’s Fundamentals of Investing Course will teach you the keys to making the right decisions in any market.
TheStreet’s Personal Finance Essentials Course will teach you money management basics and investing strategies to help you avoid major financial pitfalls.
TheStreet Courses offers dedicated classes designed to improve your investing skills, stock market knowledge and money management capabilities.
More from Stocks
Put the Pedal to the Metal With MSC Industrial Direct
This blue chip company shows promise, especially at this price.
How Investors Should Play the Presidential Debates
Curious about how investors can play the presidential debates whether or not they're Republican or Democratic debates.
Dow Futures Dip on Report China to Push for Big Trade Concessions; Boeing Weighs
Wall Street futures reversed gains Thursday, following on from a solid overnight session in Europe and Asia, amid reports that China will seek a host of demands from President Donald Trump in order to renewed stalled trade talks between the world's two biggest economies.
Trade Truce?, Nike, Boeing, Occidental and Facebook - 5 Things You Must Know
U.S. stock futures turn mixed amid reports that China will seek a host of demands from Donald Trump in order to renew stalled trade talks; Nike and Walgreens report earnings; FAA finds another issue with Boeing's 737 MAX software; Carl Icahn seeks to replace four directors at Occidental Petroleum.