Short Sellers Up the Ante for Major Oil Stocks

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Crude oil reached above $66 a barrel for the first time in over two years in late January and early February. However, the price has taken a step back since then and is currently around $63. Although the price held relatively steady above $50 for most of 2017, and the push in early 2018 put the $70 price level easily in sight, recent market volatility has called all of this into question. The current crude price still pales in comparison to what it was in 2014.

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

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw its short interest increase to 22.60 million shares from the previous reading of 22.36 million. The shares were last seen trading at $113.61, in a 52-week range of $102.55 to $133.88.

Short interest in Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) increased to 36.82 million shares from the previous 34.80 million. The stock traded at $77.50, within a 52-week range of $73.90 to $89.30.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) short interest rose to 7.30 million shares from the previous reading of 5.30 million. Shares traded at $39.50, in a 52-week range of $33.10 to $44.62.

The number of ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) shares short increased to 24.49 million from the previous level of 23.15 million. Shares were trading at $55.83, within a 52-week range of $42.27 to $61.32.

Short interest at Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, decreased to 34.02 million shares from the previous 53.95 million. The stock traded at $14.21 a share, in a 52-week range of $7.61 to $14.58. 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 10.36 million shares from the previous reading of 11.44 million. Shares recently traded at $66.75, in a 52-week range of $57.20 to $78.09.