Energy Business

Short Sellers Mixed on Oil Stocks, but One Big Winner and One Big Loser Stand Out

Crude oil traded around $50.70 a barrel early Wednesday, down by about $2.80 in the past week and about $0.60 short of a 52-week low posted earlier this week. Over the past month, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for immediate delivery has tumbled by about $8 a barrel.

Of the companies we watch, short interest increased on three of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending January 31. Global concerns related to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak first revealed on January 7 have abated somewhat in the past several days.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest decrease by 2% to 20.78 million shares, which represents about 1.1% of the company’s float. Days to cover slipped from four to three. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price dropped by about 6.9%. Its 52-week range is $105.40 to $127.34, and it closed at $111.21 on Tuesday, up by about 1.3% for the day.

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s (NYSE: XOM) short interest rose by 7% to 42.5 million shares, or about 1% of the company’s float. In the two weeks to January 31, the share price fell by about 9.6%. The stock’s 52-week range is $59.62 to $83.49, and it closed at $60.53 on Tuesday, up by about 1% for the day. Days to cover remained at three.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a rise of 16% in short interest during the two-week period. About 0.1% of the total float, or 3.76 million American depositary shares, were short, and days to cover remained less than one. The company’s shares traded down by 7% over the period, and they closed Tuesday at $36.55, up by about 1% for the day, in a 52-week range of $35.07 to $45.38.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest plunged by 31% in the latter half of January. Some 8.38 million shares were short, representing about 0.8% of the company’s total float. Days to cover fell from two to one, and the stock price dropped by 7.7% during the two weeks. Shares closed Tuesday at $58.71, up by about 1.5% for the day, in a 52-week range of $50.13 to $71.01.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, short interest soared by 53% during the two-week period. Some 35.54 million ADSs were short as of January 31, less than 1% of the total float. They closed at $14.82 on Tuesday, up by about 2.9% for the day, in a 52-week range of $12.68 to $17.90. Petrobras traded down by around 5.9% in the short interest period, and days to cover rose from one to two.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest drop by 9% to 25.31 million shares. Days to cover dipped from three to two, and about 2.8% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to January 31, the share price plunged by about 15%. The stock’s 52-week range is $37.25 to $68.83, and shares closed Tuesday at $41.17, up by about 1.7% for the day.


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