The short covering has ended. Unfortunate for us longs, they were able to instill fear and BS into the market with their buddy analyst's and TV personalities to achieve this without even a "sneeze of a squeeze".
Don't be fooled by the 12/31 short interest numbers as the big covering came last week (7 million shares traded).
The next number to eyeball is the institutional holdings which will be released Friday 2/15 (just in time to move the market before the earnings release the following Monday. WATCH the market movement Friday the 15th and Monday the 18th. Expect huge move (which direction?)
I agree Michael, significant short covering happened on Jan 2nd. There were 3.3M shares traded.
I chart short interest. The 6M level was a congestion area from about Nov 2011 to Feb 2012; a level of support. Which explains why we paused there. Even if only 1M of those 3.3M shares was short covering, it would represent a sign of weakness (SOW); a breaking of ice (support) on the short-interest chart. Meaning the smart money could be out and what's left is dumb-money shorts.