Energy Business

Short Sellers Mostly Add to Positions in Oil and Gas Stocks

Crude oil traded around $33.50 a barrel early Wednesday, down by about $14 in the past week after posting a new 52-week low of $27.34 Monday. The failure of Saudi Arabia and Russia to agree on further production led the Saudis to launch a price war that has dropped crude prices to multidecade lows.

Of the companies we watch, short interest increased on four of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending February 28. Global concerns related to the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic have hit oil prices hard, and the price war is only making a bad situation worse. Annual lows for all these companies were posted on Monday.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest tumble by more than 21% to 16.67 million shares, which represents about 0.9% of the company’s float. Days to cover fell from three to two. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price fell by about 15.9%. Its 52-week range is $80.00 to $127.34, and it closed at $84.98 on Tuesday, up by about 5.3% for the day.

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s (NYSE: XOM) short interest rose by 13.9% to 44.78 million shares, or about 1.1% of the company’s float. In the two weeks to February 28, the share price fell by about 16.1%. The stock’s 52-week range is $40.80 to $83.49, and it closed at $43.41 on Tuesday, up by about 3.7%for the day. Days to cover remained at two.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw an increase of 13.7% in short interest during the period. About 0.2% of the total float, or 7.16 million American depositary shares (ADSs), were short, and days to cover remained less than one. The company’s shares traded down by 13.3% over the two weeks, and shares closed Tuesday at $26.79, up by nearly 6% for the day, in a 52-week range of $24.20 to $45.38.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest tumbled by 21% in the latter half of February. Some 10.4 million shares were short, representing about 1% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained at two, and the stock price dropped by 17.9% during the period. Shares closed Tuesday at $34.88, up by about 2.4% for the day, in a 52-week range of $32.00 to $69.60.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, short interest soared by 61.4% during the period. Some 26.7 million ADSs were short as of February 28, less than 1% of the total float. They closed at $8.01 on Tuesday, up more than 10% for the day, in a 52-week range of $7.04 to $17.90. Shares traded down by around 18.3% in the two-week short interest period, and days to cover remained at one.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest rise by about 2.4% to 24.21 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 28, the share price rose by more than 22%. The stock’s 52-week range is $12.04 to $68.83, and shares closed Tuesday at $14.34, down by nearly 15% for the day. The company on Tuesday announced a dividend cut, less capex spending, and other unspecified measures to reduce costs.


Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.