Short Interest Plunged In These 5 Stocks During The First 2 Weeks of August

#3 AEGON N.V. (ADR) (NYSE:AEG)

– Number of Hedge Fund Shareholders (as of June 30): 4
– Total Value of Hedge Funds’ Holdings (as of June 30): $1.66 million
– Hedge Funds’ Holdings as Percent of Float (as of June 30): 0.01%

AEGON N.V. (ADR) (NYSE:AEG)’s shares on borrow retreated by an inauspicious 66.6%, to 3.11 million from July 29 to August 15. One potential reason for the short drop could be that AEGON reported a second quarter net loss of €385 million on revenue of €2.77 billion (up by 18.4% year-over-year). In U.S. dollar terms, that’s a net loss of $431 million on revenue of $3.1 billion. Although AEGON lost money, the results might have been better than the short expectations, leading the short investors to take profits. AEGON shares are down by over 32% in 2016.

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#2 FleetMatics Group PLC (NYSE:FLTX)

– Number of Hedge Fund Shareholders (as of June 30): 11
– Total Value of Hedge Funds’ Holdings (as of June 30): $67.73 million
– Hedge Funds’ Holdings as Percent of Float (as of June 30): 4.00%

Bearish investors pared their wagers in FleetMatics Group PLC (NYSE:FLTX) by 74.2%, or 2.69 million shares from July 29 to August 15, mainly due to the news that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) agreed to buy Fleetmatics for $60 in cash per share on August 1. Given that most investors expect the deal to close successfully and given Verizon’s rock-solid balance sheet and stable income streams, the short case for FleetMatics just isn’t there anymore.

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#1 American Equity Investment Life Holding (NYSE:AEL)

– Number of Hedge Fund Shareholders (as of June 30): 17
– Total Value of Hedge Funds’ Holdings (as of June 30): $84.86 million
– Hedge Funds’ Holdings as Percent of Float (as of June 30): 7.20%

With the short interest in the stock dropping by a whopping 74.8% in the 17 day-period beginning July 29, American Equity Investment Life Holding (NYSE:AEL) is the most-widely covered stock on our list. The company, which is a leading issuer of fixed index annuities, reported second quarter net income of $0.18 per share and second quarter annuity sales of $2.1 billion, the latter being up by 17% from the second quarter of 2015. Richard S. Pzena‘s Pzena Investment Management more than tripled its stake in American Equity Investment during the second quarter, to 2.68 million shares.

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Disclosure: None