Are Short Sellers Betting Against an Oil Rally?

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Crude oil had reached above $60 a barrel for the first time in over two years this week. The price has held relatively steady above $50 for most of 2017, but with this recent push $60 could be the new $50. The current crude price still pales in comparison to what it was in 2014.

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

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw its short interest increase to 23.80 million shares from the previous reading of 22.94 million. The shares were last seen trading at $125.60, in a 52-week range of $102.55 to $126.20.

Short interest in Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) increased to 35.67 million shares from the previous 32.78 million. The stock traded at $83.94, within a 52-week range of $76.05 to $91.34.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) short interest increased to 6.37 million shares from the previous reading of 5.95 million. Shares traded at $41.77, in a 52-week range of $33.10 to $41.84.

The number of ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) shares short decreased slightly to 23.25 million from the previous level of 23.93 million. Shares were trading at $55.27, within a 52-week range of $42.27 to $56.37.

Short interest at Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, increased to 51.33 million shares from the previous 46.57 million. The stock traded at $10.22 a share, in a 52-week range of $7.61 to $11.71. 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 slightly to 10.78 million shares from the previous reading of 10.13 million. Shares recently traded at $73.38, in a 52-week range of $57.20 to $73.90.