Energy Business

Short Sellers Mostly Cut Positions in Oil and Gas Stocks

Crude oil traded around $23.30 a barrel early Monday, down by about 15% over the past five trading sessions. The agreement among oil-producing nations will cut 9.7 million barrels of daily production, but that’s not going to be enough to provide traders with the confidence that short-term prices will rise.

Of the companies we watch, short interest decreased on four of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending March 31. Global concerns related to the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic have hit oil prices hard, and the price war is only made a bad situation worse.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest tumble by 23% to 16.63 million shares, which represents about 0.9% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at two. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price fell by more than 13%. Its 52-week range is $51.60 to $127.00, and it traded near $85 a share Monday morning.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) short interest slip by 3.0% to 65.87 million shares, or about 1.6% of the company’s float. In the two weeks to March 31, the share price fell by about 0.4%. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.11 to $83.49, and it traded at around $43 early Monday.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw an increase of 23.0% in short interest during the two-week period. About 0.5% of the total float, or 17.43 million American depositary shares (ADSs), were short, and days to cover remained at one. The company’s shares traded up by 10.1% over the period, and they were trading near $25, in a 52-week range of $15.51 to $45.29.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest rose by 3.0% in the final two weeks of March. Some 13.73 million shares were short, representing about 1.3% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained at two, and the stock price dropped by 1.8% during the period. Shares traded early Monday above $34, in a 52-week range of $20.84 to $67.42.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, short interest fell by about 7.0% during the two-week period. Some 41.95 million ADSs were short as of March 31, just over 1.0% of the total float. They traded below $7 apiece on Monday, in a 52-week range of $4.01 to $16.950. The share price retreated around 16.4% in the short interest period, and days to cover remained at one.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest soar by 51.0% to 77.06 million shares. Days to cover remained at three, and about 2.7% of the company’s shares were short. Between the settlement dates, the share price fell by 18.8%. The stock’s 52-week range is $9.00 to $65.25, and shares were last seen trading below $16.

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