Short Interest In Abbott Labs And Baxter International Doubles

  • Short interest in a number of stocks surged in the most recent settlement period.
  • Two health care stocks were among those leading that trend in the first weeks of May.
  • The number of shares short in one of them doubled for the second period in a row.
It does not appear that short sellers have "sold in May and gone away," at least when it came two particular health care stocks.
Abbott Laboratories
ABT
and
Baxter International IncBAX
each saw the number of their shares sold short more than double between the April 29 and May 13 settlement dates. Of course these companies were not alone in seeing a
short interest
surge in the initial two weeks of this month. Others include Canadian Solar, Great Panther Silver, Great Plains Energy, PVH, Vale and YY. On the other hand, short sellers fled in droves from the likes of Ally Financial and First Niagara Financial in that time. Here we take a quick look at how Abbott Labs and Baxter have fared recently and what analysts expect from them.

Abbott Labs

This provider of a broad range of medical devices and health care products saw the number of its shares short jump more than 307 percent to more than 40.29 million shares in the first weeks of the month. That is still only 2.7 percent of float, though. At the most recently average daily volume, it would take less than three days to cover all short positions. Jefferies maintained a Buy rating on Abbott but
lowered its price target
in the period. The share price ended the two-week short interest period more than 3 percent lower, though it has recovered since then. The stock still is down more than 13 percent since the beginning of the year.
See also:Argus Upgrades Zimmer Biomet To Buy

Baxter International

After short interest for this provider of renal and hospital products spiked more than 158 percent in the previous period, it doubled again early this month, by 110 percent, to more than 120.63 million shares, which was 22.0 percent of the float. The average daily volume also spiked again, from more than 12 million to more than 20 million. So it would take more than six days to cover all short positions. In the first quarter
David Einhorn
and
Dan Loeb
remained stakeholders in Baxter. Short sellers watched the shares rise nearly 5 percent but then give about 2 percent of it back during the two-week short interest period. The share price is around 14 percent higher year to date, compared to gain of less than 3 percent for the S&P 500.
At the time of this writing, the author had no position in the mentioned equities.
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