This Week in Sirius XM Radio

Things never get dull for the country's lone satellite-radio provider. Shares of Sirius XM Radio moved lower on the week, shedding 2.5% to hit $3.49. The media darling's rise contrasts the negative week for the markets in general. The Dow and Nasdaq closed out the week lower.

Sirius XM also hit a fresh five-year high earlier in the week, but it didn't stick. But there was more going on this week beyond the share-price gyrations. Its CFO was added to an overseas investor conference, shorts held steady through the first half of May, and Apple introduced a new iPod.

Let's take a closer look.

Higher ground
Sirius XM hit a new five-year intraday high of $5.63 on Tuesday. Investors should be used to this by now. The stock has cracked new multi-year highs in four of the past five weeks.

The stock did sell off on Friday, closing well off its fresh high. It will be a challenge to reclaim that high in the coming week, but one down day isn't enough to crush the positive momentum that's been building for what is now more than four years.

Frear no evil
Sirius XM is naturally a big draw at investor conferences, and CFO David Frear has been tapped to present at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Telecom and Media Conference in London come Tuesday.

There's probably no material news coming, but it's always encouraging to see the company selling potential investors on its merits.

Heavy shorts
Twice a month, the major exchanges divulge short interest in listed companies, and earlier in the week we learned that Sirius XM had 379 million shares sold short on May 15. That's in line with the 380 million shares shorted when the month began.

The number of bets against Sirius XM peaked at 414 million shares in late February, but the value of those bearish wagers has never been greater, because Sirius XM's stock has been moving higher. Here's the table that I published on Thursday to bear that out.


Shares Short




294.1 million


$570.6 million


414.0 million


$1,287.5 million


379.0 million


$1,337.9 million

Source: Nasdaq.

Bears keep getting burned, but what else is new? It's been dangerous to bet against Sirius XM over the past four years.

Apple's new media player
In assessing Sirius XM's competition, it's easy to limit the search to terrestrial radio and streaming services, but let's not forget the wide world of podcasts and downloaded music.

Apple's the top dog on both of those fronts, and this week it introduced a cheaper fifth-generation iPod Touch. The $229 player has just 16 gigabytes of capacity, but it's naturally cheaper than the earlier fifth-generation devices with 32 and 64 gigs of storage.

Apple was selling fourth-generation iPod touch devices with 16 gigabytes of flash storage, but now the entry-level model has been updated. Apple also revealed that it has sold 100 million iPod Touch devices since its inception.

The iPod Touch runs apps, but it offers only Wi-Fi access to the Web. In short, it's not as dangerous a threat to satellite radio as smartphones are until more cars start rolling out with Wi-Fi routers. However, since Apple is long rumored to be rolling out a streaming service of its own, we need to keep an eye on any music-related announcements from the consumer-tech giant.

A Sirius future
It was an interesting week for Sirius XM. The new week isn't likely to be dull.

Even though Sirius XM has been one of the market's biggest winners since bottoming out three years ago, there's still some healthy upside to be had if things go right for it -- and plenty of room for it to fall if things don't. Read all about Sirius in The Motley Fool's premium report. To get started, just click here now.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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