Energy Business

Oil and Gas Short Sellers Remain Lukewarm, With One Exception

Crude oil traded around $42.20 a barrel early Wednesday, up by about $1.50 a barrel over the past two weeks. The price of crude has not strayed far from the $40 level since the beginning of July.

Of the companies we watch, short interest decreased on four of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending July 31. Share prices decreased on all six stocks between the settlement dates.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest soar by 49% to 17.85 million shares, which represents about 1% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at two. In the short interest period through July 31, the stock’s share price fell by about 5.6%. Its 52-week range is $51.60 to $125.27, and it closed at $89.62 on Tuesday, down by about 0.1% for the day.

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s (NYSE: XOM) short interest fell by 8% to 48.6 million shares, or about 1.2% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at two. In the two weeks to July 31, the share price fell by about 5.7%. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.11 to $75.18, and it closed at $44.97 on Tuesday, up by about 1% for the day.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a drop of 25% in short interest during the two weeks. About 0.7% of the total float, or 7.1 million American depositary shares (ADSs), were short, and days to cover remained at one. The company’s shares dropped by about 7.4% over the period, and they closed up by about 1.3% Tuesday, at $23.81 in a 52-week range of $15.51 to $40.08.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest rose by 9% in the latter half of July. Some 10.5 million shares were short, representing about 1% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained at two, and the stock price tumbled by about 9.3% during the period. Shares closed Tuesday at $39.71, up by about 0.2%, in a 52-week range of $20.84 to $67.13.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, short interest dropped by 8% during the two weeks. Some 35.3 million ADSs were short as of July 31, about 1.0% of the total float. They closed at $8.78 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $4.01 to $16.84. The stock slipped by about 2.7% in the short interest period, and days to cover remained at two.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) had short interest fall by 18% to 40.1 million shares. Days to cover remained at two, and about 4.4% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to July 31, the share price fell by about 8.4%. Its 52-week range is $9.00 to $48.85, and shares closed Tuesday at $15.16, down by 8% for the day. The company on Tuesday canceled a proposed $4.9 billion sale of its Algerian oil and fields, setting back a plan to reduce Oxy’s massive debt load.