The short interest in NYSE stocks hit a record for the March 31 period. The number compare to those on March 14.
Shares short in banks and brokerages began to drop. Short interest in Fannie Mae (FNM) fell 14.7 million to 63.2 million. Shares short in Freddie Mac (FRE) fell 13.8 million to 45.5 million. The short interest in Countrywide Financial (CFC) fell 13.5 million shares to 98 million. Shares short in MBIA (MBI) fell 107 million to 47.2 million. The short interest in Washington Mutual (WM) dropped 5.9 million to 168.9 million.
Short interest in some money center banks rose slightly lead by Citigroup (C) where shares short moved up 2.2 million to 127.8 million. Wells Fargo (WFC) added 2 million shares short making its total 119.5 million. Wachovia’s (WB) short interest rose 1.1 million shares to 106.5 million. Shares short in Merrill Lynch (MER) moved up 6.2 million to 42.9 million.
Other notable increases in the short interest in companies includes General Electric (GE) where shares short moved up 13 million to 57.9 million, Time Warner (TWX) which has a 6.4 million share increase to 44.9 million, Motorola (MOT) where shares short rose 5.9 million to 50.9 million, and Sprint (S) with an increase of 5.8 million to 81 million.
Large companies with drops in shares short included News Corp (NWS) down 13.7 million to 49.3 million, Boston Scientific (BSX) down 12.5 million to 46.3 million, and Halliburton (HAL) down 5.7 million to 57 million.
Data from WSJ and NYSE.
Douglas A. McIntyre