Energy Short Sellers Raise Their Bets Against the Giants
Crude oil traded around $52.35 a barrel early Thursday, essentially unchanged in the past week, but far below a high of $62.90 posted on September 16, the first trading day following the attack on the Saudi oil processing plants. Over the past month, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for immediate delivery has dipped by about $2.00 a barrel.
Of the companies we watch, short interest fell on four of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending September 30.
Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest rise by 7% to 21.55 million shares, which represents about 1% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained unchanged at four. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price decreased by 0.9%. Its 52-week range is $100.22 to $127.34, and it closed at $111.71 on Wednesday, up about 1.3% for the day.
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) short interest rose by 9% to 41.42 million shares, or 1% of the company’s float. In the two weeks to September 30, the share price dropped by about 1.8%. The stock’s 52-week range is $64.65 to $84.17, and it closed at $66.70 on Wednesday, up about 1.1%for the day. Days to cover remained at four.
BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a drop of 38% in short interest during the latter half of September 30. Less than 0.1% of the total float, or 3.1 million American depositary shares, were short, and days to cover fell to less than one. The company’s shares traded up by about 1% over the two weeks, and shares closed Wednesday at $37.17, up by about 0.9% for the day, in a 52-week range of $35.73 to $45.38.
ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest dropped by 4% in the period. Some 9.96 million shares were short, representing about 0.9% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained at two, and the stock price rose by about 0.8% during the two weeks. Shares closed Wednesday at $54.94, up about 1.9% for the day, in a 52-week range of $50.13 to $74.77.
Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, posted a decrease of 2% in short interest during the period. Some 23.51 million ADSs were short as of September 30, about 0.6% of the total float. They closed at $14.11 on Wednesday, up by about 2.5% for the day, in a 52-week range of $11.89 to $17.90. Petrobras traded down 0.3% in the short interest period, and days to cover remained unchanged at about two.
Occidental Petroleum Corp.’s (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest fall by 16% to 12.1 million shares. Days to cover slipped from two to one, and about 1.4% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to September 30, the share price pulled back about 1%. The stock’s 52-week range is $40.44 to $77.48, and shares closed Wednesday at $40.84, up less than 0.1% for the day. The 52-week low was set Wednesday.