Among the leading semiconductor stocks, Applied Materials (NASDAQ: STM) saw the most significant rises in short interest between the September 30 and October 15 settlement dates.
The number of shares sold short in Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: LSI) and Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN) also grew somewhat.
The short interest in Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM) was essentially unchanged from the previous period.
However, short sellers retreated from KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ: KLAC), Marvell Technology (NASDAQ: MRVL), NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) and Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) in early October.
Here we take a closer look at how Applied Materials, Micron Technology and STMicroelectronics have fared and what analysts expect from them.
See also: Short Interest In Facebook Falls, In Groupon Rises
This equipment and services provider to the semiconductor industry saw short interest jump more than 36 percent in the period to around 28.90 million shares. That was the greatest number of shares sold short in at least a year. The short interest was more than two percent of the float.
Applied Materials acquisition of Tokyo Electron for $9.4 billion remained the focus during the period. The Santa Clara, California-based company has a market capitalization of more than $21 billion and a dividend yield near 2.2 percent. The long-term earnings per share (EPS) growth forecast of this S&P 500 component is about nine percent.
Half of the 20 analysts who follow the stock and were surveyed by Thomson/First Call recommend buying shares, and four of them rated the stock at Strong Buy. The mean price target, or where the analysts expect the share price to go, is about the same as the current share price, meaning analysts see no upside potential at this time.
Shares have met resistance near $18 for the past month. The current share price is less than 50 percent higher year-to-date. The stock has outperformed not only the Nasdaq over the past six months, but also competitors such as KLA-Tencor and Lam Research (NASDAQ: LRCX).
This Boise-based semiconductor device maker saw short interest grow about 18 percent to 109.02 million shares, taking back most of the decline in the previous period. More than 10 percent of Micron shares were short at the end of the period, but the days to cover fell to less than two.
Micron Technology swung to a profit in the most recent quarter due to a one-time gain. The company has a market cap of a little more than $17 billion. The long-term EPS growth forecast of this S&P 500 component is near 18 percent, and the operating margin is better than the industry average.
Of the 31 analysts who were surveyed, 15 recommend buying shares, with eight of them rating the stock at Strong Buy. They believe the stock has plenty of headroom, as their mean price target is more than 23 percent higher than the current share price. Shares have not traded at that level since 2002.
The share price reached a new 52-week high earlier in the month but has pulled back more than 10 percent since then. It is still up about 150 percent year-to-date. The stock has outperformed the Nasdaq and the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the past six months.
See also: Short Sellers Retreat From Biogen Idec, Move On Pharmacyclics
Short interest in this Swiss integrated circuits maker rose about 27 percent in the initial two weeks of October to more than 4.40 million shares. That was the greatest number of shares sold short in the past year. It would take about five days to close out all of the short positions.
Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) awarded STMicroelectronics an Excellence in Sustainability Award during the period. The company has a market cap of more than $6 billion and a dividend yield near 4.6 percent. Note that the return on equity and the operating margin are both in the red.
The consensus recommendation of the seven polled analysts is to buy STMicroelectronics shares, and it has been for at least three months. Their mean price target is more than 16 percent higher than the current share price. However, shares were trading higher than that two weeks ago.
Shares have retreated more than 17 percent since the beginning of October, most of that decline coming last week following an earnings report. Over the past six months, the stock has underperformed larger competitor Texas Instruments and the S&P 500.
At the time of this writing, the author had no position in the mentioned equities.
Follow us on Twitter.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
Stock AnalysisLearn about Coca-Cola's ad spending and why the company has decided to spend the amount of money it does. Understand comparable companies and industries.
InvestingVolatility is likely to resurface as the Federal Reserve gets closer to adjusting its monetary policy stance, even if that adjustment is a measured affair.
EconomicsWe are facing a conundrum with investment implications: Why are wages still stagnant, when jobs are being created at the fastest pace since the late 90's?
InvestingDiverging monetary policy globally and a stronger dollar continued to be key drivers of the recent underperformance and last week’s tumble in U.S. stocks.
EconomicsThe "soft" dry bulk shipping market that confronts shipping companies is a result of lower demand from China, and an excessive amount of bulk ships.
Stock AnalysisWe take a closer look at how Sierra Wireless' transition from 2G to 3G and 4G technologies, has impacted its business today, and the future expectations.
Stock AnalysisARM Holdings highlighted several growth opportunities in its most recent roadshow presentation. Here are three of the large opportunities it talked about.
Stock AnalysisThe energy boom in the U.S. has opened up a huge range of opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
Stock AnalysisCostco has been one of America's most successful companies: It's growing, efficient, profitable and its long-term shareholders have benefited a windfall.
Stock AnalysisDividend investors know that real estate investment trusts with REITs that invest in mortgage-backed securities produce double-digit dividend yields.
An alternative investment theory to Efficient Market Hypothesis ...
New orders for U.S. core durable goods, which are the total durable ...
One of the best-known sources of financial information on the ...
The market's ability to sustain relatively large market orders ...
The difference between the number of stocks that closed higher ...
A system that gathers and compiles the different estimates made ...
An industry agency council was established by the World Economic Forum in 2014 to serve as an advisory board on the future ... Read Full Answer >>
The railroads sector is comprised of publicly traded stocks for companies that operate railroad tracks and/or trains. Railroad ... Read Full Answer >>
Biotech giant Amgen Inc (AMGN) bills itself as one of the first biotechnology firms. It was founded in 1980 and has grown ... Read Full Answer >>
Back in late August 2012, Apple’s (AAPL) stock price reached nearly $700 per share. The stock has since split but has yet ... Read Full Answer >>