Short interest slipped on the New York Stock Exchange but was little changed on the Nasdaq in late November, two weeks before a sharp rally for stocks, according to data released by the exchanges on Thursday.

Although the S&P 500 fell 1.6 percent during the period, it has rallied more than 4 percent since the start of December as many investors predict a strong end to the year.

Short interest on the New York Stock Exchange slipped 1.2 percent to 13.65 billion shares through November 30, compared with 13.81 billion shares as of November 15.

Investors who sell securities short seek to profit from a decline in stock prices. They borrow shares and then sell them in hope of buying them back later at a cheaper price, pocketing the difference.

The short interest on November 30 was equal to 3.57 percent of the total shares outstanding, the NYSE said.

Short interest on the Nasdaq dipped 0.08 percent during the period to 7.034 billion shares, compared with 7.040 billion shares as of November 15.

The short interest on Nasdaq was 3.39 days' average daily volume, compared with an average of 3.47 days for the previous reporting period, according to Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Jan Paschal)