You might be on to something there...that's a 13.5%+ decrease in short interest (900K shares) in the span of just two weeks! With less incentive for people to hold the price down we may see a rise in share price this quarter.
Shares hit their 52-week low of $10.46 on September 22nd, which is the two-week period where so many shorts were able to cover. There was a straight rise from the low to $12, a brief drop, then up above $13.
With NTRI near multi-year lows, continuing to pay a dividend, and repurchasing shares perhaps some shorts have simply woken up to the fact that there are more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. You have to admit, any short that got in after December of 2009 has done pretty well. With the share price so low, in this volitile market, shorts are pretty smart to book their profits.
Now Q4 is typically the slowest for NTRI, so I would not expect all shorts to bail immediately. However, it would not surprise me to see the trend of short covering continue into the end-of-month earnings call.
This is definitely a baffling stock recently in that NTRI seems to rise on down market days and fall on up market days. Perhaps that is an accumulation technique or someone trying to mess with the heads of longs. I really don't have a great explanation there.
Short interest continues to trend down and that is a good sign. Overall, I would say short interest is still quite high (20%) when compared to other stocks, though. It is noteworthy that days-to-cover rose due to declining average volume (from 13 to 15 days). I am very impressed that shorts have been able to cover 1.6M shares since mid-september with only a thirty-one cent rise in share price.
It will be interesting to see how this story plays out into the Nov. 2nd earnings call and then into Q1 of 2012. We now have a market where investors have been underweight in equities and find themselves looking for the remaining bargain stocks that haven't run up yet. I believe NTRI is one of those bargains that will be found this quarter, assuming earnings are solid and the dividend remains intact.
Settlement Date Short Interest Avg Daily Share Volume Days To Cover 10/14/2011 4,933,172 330,893 15 9/30/2011 5,643,717 425,931 13 9/15/2011 6,534,480 271,916 24 8/31/2011 6,365,973 349,905 18 8/15/2011 6,501,965 543,876 12