Short Sellers Double Their Positions in One Energy Stock

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Crude oil traded at around $59 a barrel early Tuesday. Over the past month, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for July delivery has dropped from around $64 a barrel. Crude oil had its worst week of the year last week, accounting for most of the monthly loss.

Of the companies we watch, short interest rose on three of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period that ended May 15.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest tumble by 33% to 19.05 million shares, which represents about 1.1% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained unchanged at two. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price increased by about 1.2%. Its 52-week range is $100.22 to $128.55, and it closed at $118.71 on Friday, up about 0.7% for the day. Chevron’s decision not to pursue a bid for Anadarko brought buyers back and sent short sellers looking elsewhere, primarily at the winner, Occidental.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) short interest fell by 2% to 37.11 million shares or 0.9% of the company’s float. In the two weeks to May 15, the share price decreased by about 4.4%. The stock’s 52-week range is $64.65 to $87.36, and it closed at $74.10 on Friday, up about 0.4% for the day. Days to cover remained unchanged at three.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw an increase of 4% in short interest during the period to May 15. Some 0.1% of the total float, or 5.19 million American depositary shares, were short, and days to cover remained at one. The company’s shares traded down by about 5.1% over the two weeks, and shares closed Friday at $41.76, up about 1% for the day, in a 52-week range of $36.28 to $47.57.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest tumbled by 22% in the period. Some 7.76 million shares were short, representing about 1% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained unchanged at one, and the stock price fell by 1.5% during the two weeks. Shares closed Friday at $59.88, up by about 0.7% 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 14% in short interest during the period. Some 32.37 million shares were short as of May 15, about 0.8% of the total float. The stock closed at $14.10 on Friday, up by about 1.4% for the day, in a 52-week range of $9.02 to $17.90. Shares traded down by about 5.4% in the two-week period, and days to cover remained unchanged at two.

Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest soar by 98% to 27.65 million shares. Days to cover rose from one to three, and about 3.7% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to May 15, the share price dropped by about 7.3%. The stock’s 52-week range is $51.29 to $87.67, and shares closed Friday at $53.47, up by about 1.1% for the day.


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