Energy Business

Short Sellers Mixed on Oil Stocks Ahead of Jump in Coronavirus Concerns

Crude oil traded around $7.35 a barrel early Wednesday, down by about $3.35 in the past week, after posting a new 52-week low of $47.23 earlier in the morning. Over the past week, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for immediate delivery has tumbled by about $6.50 a barrel.

Of the companies we watch, short interest increased on three of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending February 14. Global concerns related to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak hit oil stocks hard this week and the impact on short interest won’t show up until the next report is released.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest increase by 2% to 21.17 million shares, which represents about 1.1% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at three. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price rose by about 2.7%. Its 52-week range is $98.00 to $127.34, and it closed at $98.04 on Wednesday, down by about 2.7% for the day. The low was also posted Wednesday.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) short interest fell by 7% to 39.33 million shares, or about 1% of the company’s float. In the two weeks to February 14, the share price fell by about 3.0%. The stock’s 52-week range is $52.93 to $83.49, and it closed at $53.01 on Wednesday, down by about 2.2%for the day. Days to cover slipped from three to two.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a leap of 67% in short interest during the first half of February. About 0.2% of the total float, or 6.29 million American depositary shares, were short, and days to cover remained less than one. The company’s shares traded down by 0.3% over the two-week period, and they closed Wednesday at $32.68, down by about 0.8% for the day, in a 52-week range of $32.65 to $45.38. The low was posted Wednesday.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest soared by 57% in the two weeks. Some 13.18 million shares were short, representing about 1.2% of the company’s total float. Days to cover rose from one to two, and the stock price dropped by 1.9% during the period. Shares closed Wednesday at $51.17, down by nearly 5% for the day, in a 52-week range of $50.13 to $70.06.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, short interest plunged by 53% during the period. Some 16.55 million American depositary shares were short as of February 14, less than 1% of the total float. They closed at $12.55 on Wednesday, down by about 2.1% for the day, in a 52-week range of $12.45 to $17.90. Shares traded up by around 4.6% in the two-week short interest period, and days to cover fell from two to one.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest drop by 7% to 23.65 million shares. Days to cover remained at two, and about 2.7% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to February 14, the share price rose by about 5.1%. The stock’s 52-week range is $34.19 to $68.83, and shares closed Wednesday at $34.22, down by about 5.4% for the day. The low was posted Wednesday.


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