Energy Business

Short Sellers Move Back Into Oil Stocks as Crude Prices Slip

Crude oil traded around $59.00 a barrel early Monday, down more than $6 since a weekly high of around $65.50 in the past week but still less than its 12-month high of $66.60 posted on April 23, 2019. Over the past month, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for immediate delivery has increased by less than $0.50 a barrel.

Of the companies we watch, short interest increased on four of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending December 31. Some of them are among the 10 undervalued energy stocks as a new year and new decade begins.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest increase by 6% to 21.51 million shares, which represents about 1.1% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained unchanged at four. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price increased by about 2.5%. Its 52-week trading range is $110.17 to $127.34, and it closed at $116.44 on Friday, down about 0.9% for the day.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) short interest rose by 1% to 38.81 million shares, or 0.9% of the company’s float. In the short interest period ended December 31, the share price rose by about 1.1%. The stock’s 52-week range is $66.31 to $83.49, and it closed at $69.14 on Friday, down about 0.9%for the day. Days to cover remained at three.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a drop of 17% in short interest during the two-week period. About 0.13% of the total float, or 4.19 million American depositary shares (ADSs), were short, and days to cover remained less than one. The company’s shares traded up by about 2.2% in the period, and they closed Friday at $38.74, down by about 0.6% for the day, in a 52-week range of $35.73 to $45.38.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest remained essentially unchanged in the two weeks to December 31. Some 11.36 million shares were short, representing about 1% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained at two, and the stock price increased by about 3.8% during the two weeks. Shares closed Friday at $65.42, down about 1% for the day, in a 52-week range of $50.13 to $71.01.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, posted a rise of 13% in short interest during the two-week period. Some 17.85 million ADSs were short as of December 31, about 1.2% of the total float. The stock closed at $15.64 on Friday, down by 0.7% for the day, in a 52-week range of $12.68 to $17.90. It traded up by around 5.6% in the short interest period, and days to cover remained at one.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest rise by 1% to 21.25 million shares. Days to cover remained at two, and about 2.4% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to December 31, the share price increased by about 5.4%. The stock’s 52-week range is $37.25 to $68.83, and shares closed Friday at $45.90, up about 1.2% for the day.