Energy Business

Oil and Gas Short Sellers Head for the Exits

Crude oil traded around $41 a barrel early Monday, up by about a dollar a barrel over the past two weeks. COVID-19 continues to weigh on the U.S. economy, and the oil patch has been no exception. As of last Friday, nearly 700 U.S. wells had been shut-in as demand for motor fuel remains low.

Of the companies we watch, short interest decreased on all six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending July 15. Share prices increased on two of the stocks during the period.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest slip by 4.0% to 12.0 million shares, which represents about 0.6% of the company’s float. It would take those sellers two days to cover their short interest. In the two weeks through July 15, the stock’s share price fell by about 0.2%. Its 52-week range is $51.60 to $125.27, and it closed at $90.13 on Friday, up by about 1.0% for the day.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) short interest fell by 1.0% to 52.7 million shares, or about 1.3% of the company’s float. In the short interest period, the share price fell by about 5.1%. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.11 to $75.66, and it closed at $43.43 on Friday, down by about 0.6% for the day.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a drop of 21.0% in short interest during the first half of July. About 0.9% of the total float, or 9.5 million American depositary shares (ADSs), were short, and days to cover remained at one. The company’s shares rose by about 2.1% over the two weeks, and shares closed down by about 1.3% Friday at $22.93 in a 52-week range of $15.51 to $40.23.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest fell by 14.0% in the period. Some 9.7 million shares were short, representing about 0.9% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained at two, and the stock price slipped by about 1.0% during the two weeks. Shares closed Friday at $40.28, down by about 0.4%, in a 52-week range of $20.84 to $67.13.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, short interest dropped by 1.0% during the period. Some 38.2 million ADSs were short as of July 15, about 1.0% of the total float. They rose by 8.7% in the two-week short interest period, and days to cover remained at two. The stock closed at $9.00 on Friday, in a 52-week range of $4.01 to $16.84.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest fall by 10.0% to 48.6 million shares. Days to cover remained at two, and about 5.3% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to July 15, the share price fell by about 6.1%. The stock’s 52-week range is $9.00 to $54.05, and shares closed Friday at $16.74, down by about 0.5% for the day.