Short Interest in Energy Stocks Cools Off

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Crude oil traded at around $64.40 a barrel early Wednesday. Over the past month, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude has risen from about $58 to around $64 a barrel. Turmoil in Libya, sanctions against Iran and OPEC production cuts are working to raise crude prices, while expected softness in the global economy is keeping the increase from soaring.

Of the six energy companies we watch, short interest rose on four of them during the two-week reporting period ending March 29.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest fall by 10.7% to 17.17 million shares, which represents about 0.9% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained unchanged at three. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price decreased by about 1.7%. The stock’s 52-week range is $100.22 to $131.08, and it closed at $125.54 on Tuesday, down about 0.9% for the day.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) short interest fell by 8.7% to 39.52 million shares, or 0.9% of the company’s float. In the two weeks to March 29, the share price increased by about 0.8%. The stock’s 52-week range is $64.65 to $87.36, and it closed at $81.93 on Tuesday, down about 1.3% for the day. Days to cover rose from three to four.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw an increase of 5.9% in short interest during the two-week period. Some 0.2% of the total float, or 6.65 million shares, were short, and days to cover remained at one. The company’s shares traded down by about 0.3% over the two weeks, and shares closed Tuesday at $44.99, down by about 0.5% for the day, in a 52-week range of $36.28 to $47.83.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest drop by 10.1% in the latter two weeks of March. Some 11.61 million shares were short, representing 1% of the company’s total float. Days to cover rose from one to two, and the stock price dipped by 1.2% during the period. Shares closed Tuesday at $65.70, down by about 1.3% for the day, in a 52-week range of $56.75 to $80.24.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, posted a rise of 21.6% in short interest during the two-week period. Some 29.91 million shares were short as of March 29, about 0.8% of the total float. The stock closed at $16.88 on Tuesday, down about 0.7% for the day, in a 52-week range of $9.02 to $17.90. Shares traded down by about 4% in the short interest period, and days to cover fell from two to one.

Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest decrease by 13% to 9.75 million shares. Days to cover fell from three to two, and about 1.3% of the company’s shares were short. In the final weeks of last month, the share price rose by about 1.1%. The stock’s 52-week range is $56.83 to $87.67, and shares closed Tuesday at $67.28, down by about 1.6% for the day.


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