Short Sellers Hike Bets on Major Oil Stocks

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Crude oil had traded above $50 a barrel before early March, and now it is back above this level for the first time in over a month. This level was once thought as a support level, but after crude dropped by over 5%, this has been called into question, even considering recent strength. The current crude price is still this is less than half of what it was in 2014. Following recent geopolitical tensions in the Syria, crude oil appears to be holding steady around $51.

Also former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson taking the role of Secretary of State could prove to be beneficial for the oil industry. Considering this, short interest for major oil stocks is now more important than ever to follow.

The May 15 short interest data have been compared with the previous figures, and short interest for most of the selected oil stocks increased.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw its short interest increase to 21.04 million shares from the previous reading of 20.10 million. The shares were last seen at $106.22, in a 52-week trading range of $97.53 to $119.00.

Short interest in Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) increased to 31.40 million shares from the previous 28.76 million. The stock was trading at $82.29, within a 52-week range of $80.30 to $95.55.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) short interest increased to 20.72 million shares from the previous reading of 17.50 million. Shares were recently at $36.90, in a 52-week range of $30.66 to $38.68.

The number of ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) shares short increased to 21.52 million from the previous level of 16.21 million. Shares were trading at $46.67, within a 52-week range of $38.80 to $53.17.

Short interest at Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, increased to 42.31 million shares from the previous 32.21 million. The stock traded at $9.08 a share, in a 52-week range of $5.45 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 decreased to 14.80 million shares from the previous reading of 16.80 million. Shares recently traded at $61.16, in a 52-week range of $57.20 to $78.48.