Short Sellers Remain Cool to Energy Stocks

April 26, 2019 by Paul Ausick

Crude oil traded at around $64.05 a barrel early Friday. Over the past month, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude has risen from about $60 to around $64 a barrel. The Trump administration’s decision not to extend waivers to buyers of Iranian oil was the main price driver of the past two weeks.

Of the companies we watch, short interest fell on four of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending April 15.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest fall by 1% to 17.01 million shares, which represents about 0.9% of the company’s float. Days to cover fell from three to two. In the short interest period through April 15, the stock’s share price decreased by about 3%. Its 52-week range is $100.22 to $131.08, and it closed at $117.90 on Thursday, down about 0.3% for the day. Chevron reported earnings Friday morning that beat earnings estimates but missed on revenues.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) short interest fell by 7.3% to 36.63 million shares, or 0.9% of the float. In the two-week short interest period, the share price decreased by about 0.9%. The stock’s 52-week range is $64.65 to $87.36, and it closed at $82.22 on Thursday, down about 0.5% for the day. Days to cover remained unchanged at four. Exxon this morning reported much lower earnings and revenues than analysts expected, and the stock was trading down about 2.5%.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a decrease of 7.6% in short interest during the two weeks to April 15. Some 0.2% of the total float, or 6.65 million American depositary shares, were short, and days to cover remained at one. Those shares traded up by about 2% over the period and closed Thursday at $43.96, down by about 0.4% for the day, in a 52-week range of $36.28 to $47.83.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest rose by 1.4% in the two weeks. Some 11.77 million shares were short, representing 1% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained unchanged at two, and the stock price dipped by 1.7% during the period. Shares closed Thursday at $65.70, down by about 1.1% for the day, in a 52-week range of $56.75 to $80.24.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, posted a drop of 11.1% in short interest during the period. Some 26.61 million shares were short as of April 15, about 0.7% of the total float. The stock closed at $15.47 on Thursday, down less than 0.1% for the day, in a 52-week range of $9.02 to $17.90. Shares traded down by about 6.7% in the short interest period, and days to cover remained unchanged at one.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest increase by 2.1% to 9.95 million shares. Days to cover remained unchanged at two, and about 1.3% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to April 15, the share price dropped by about 5.2%. The stock’s 52-week range is $56.83 to $87.67, and shares closed Thursday at $61.84, down by about 0.2% for the day. Oxy has made a counteroffer to acquire Anadarko that is about $7 billion higher than the offer Anadarko already has accepted from Chevron.


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