Short Sellers May Be Moving Out of Energy Stocks

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Crude oil traded around $56.70 a barrel early Thursday. Over the past month, the price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for immediate delivery has dipped by about $2.50 a barrel.

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

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest drop by 4% to 18.41 million shares, which represents about 1% of the company’s float. Days to cover rose from two to three. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price increased by about 1.5%. The stock’s 52-week range is $100.22 to $128.55, and it closed at $126.54 on Wednesday, up about 0.6% for the day.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) short interest rose by 8% to 35.6 million shares, or 0.8% of the company’s float. In the two weeks to July 15, the share price increased by about 1.1%. The stock’s 52-week range is $64.65 to $87.36, and it closed at $75.36 on Wednesday, essentially unchanged for the day. Days to cover remained unchanged at three.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a decrease of 39% in short interest during the two-week period. Less than 0.1% of the total float, or 2.27 million American depositary shares, were short and days to cover fell below one. The company’s shares traded down by about 2.3% over the period, and they closed Wednesday at $39.14, down by about 0.8% for the day, in a 52-week range of $36.28 to $47.16.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest fell by 13% in the first half of July. Some 7.44 million shares were short, representing about 0.7% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained unchanged at one, and the stock price rose by about 0.7% during the period. Shares closed Wednesday at $60.08, down by about 0.3% for the day, in a 52-week range of $56.75 to $80.24.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, posted a drop of 14% in short interest during the period. Some 26.58 million shares were short as of July 15, about 0.7% of the total float. The stock closed at $15.86 on Wednesday, down by about 1.3% for the day, in a 52-week range of $10.16 to $17.90. Shares traded up by about 6.6% in the short interest period, and days to cover remained unchanged at about two.

Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest rise by 14% to 46.91 million shares. Days to cover remained unchanged at four, and about 6.3% of the company’s shares are short. In the two weeks to July 15, the share price rose by about 2.9%. The stock’s 52-week range is $47.00 to $84.65, and shares closed Wednesday at $52.05, up by about 0.5% for the day.


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