Short Sellers Increase Bets on Major Oil

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The short interest data have been released for the October 14 settlement date. With oil prices seemingly on the slow path to recovery and the Dow and S&P 500 slipping away from their highs, short interest is now more important than ever to follow. Crude oil has recovered to around the $50 level, which is a step in the right direction for major oil, but still this level is practically half of what it was in 2014.

The October 14 short interest data have been compared with the previous figures, and short interest for the selected oil stocks was mixed.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw its short interest increase to 36.28 million shares from the previous reading of 35.35 million. Its shares closed Tuesday at $100.77, in a 52-week trading range of $75.33 to $107.58.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) had short interest that fell to 50.99 million shares from the previous 58.28 million. Shares closed Tuesday at $86.72, within a 52-week range of $71.55 to $95.55.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) short interest decreased to 12.35 million shares from its previous reading of 14.00 million. Shares closed Tuesday at $36.04, in a 52-week range of $27.01 to $37.53.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) saw the number of its shares short increase to 17.19 million from the previous level of 16.86 million. Shares closed Tuesday at $41.81, within a 52-week range of $31.05 to $57.24.

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, saw its short interest increase to 75.59 million shares from the previous 73.24 million. The stock closed Tuesday at $12.18 a share, in a 52-week range of $2.71 to $12.56. Unfortunately, Petrobras may be trading on an entirely different set of fundamentals and sentiment due to its ongoing woes in Brazil.

Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s (NYSE: OXY) short interest increased to 15.53 million shares from the previous reading of 14.47 million. Shares closed most recently at $74.43, in a 52-week range of $58.24 to $78.48.