Energy Business

Oil and Gas Short Interest Wanes as Crude Prices Inch Higher

Crude oil traded around $43.15 a barrel early Wednesday, up by about a dollar per barrel over the past week. The price of crude has now returned to levels last seen in mid-March.

Of the companies we watch, short interest decreased on five of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending August 14. Share prices increased on five of the stocks as well during the first half of this month.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest dip by 3% to 17.28 million shares. That represents less than 1% of the company’s float, and the days to cover figure remained at two. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price rose by about 7.6%. Its 52-week range is $51.60 to $125.27, and it closed at $86.13 on Tuesday, down by about 1.2% for the day.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) short interest tumbled by 14% to 41.8 million shares, or about 1.0% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at two. In the two weeks to August 14, the share price rose by about 4.7%. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.11 to $75.18, and it closed at $40.88 on Tuesday, down by about 3.2% for the day. Note that this stock is being dropped from the Dow Jones industrial average.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a drop of 3% in short interest during the two-week period. About 0.6% of the total float, or 6.84 million American depositary shares (ADSs), were short, and days to cover remained at one. The company’s shares added about 5.7% over the two weeks, and shares closed down by about 1.3% Tuesday, at $21.62 in a 52-week range of $15.51 to $40.08.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest fell by 10% in the first two weeks of August. Some 9.49 million shares were short, representing about 0.9% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained at two, and the stock price rose by about 9.2% during the period. Shares closed Tuesday at $8.85, down by less than 0.1%, in a 52-week range of $20.84 to $67.13.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, short interest dropped by 14% during the two-week period. Some 30.26 million ADSs were short as of August 14, about 0.8% of the total float. They closed at $8.49 on Tuesday in a 52-week range of $4.01 to $16.84. Petrobras slipped by about 0.7% in the short interest period, and days to cover remained at two.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest rise by 11% to 44.53 million shares. Days to cover remained at two, and about 4.8% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to August 14, the share price fell by about 7.0%. Its 52-week range is $9.00 to $48.85, and shares closed Tuesday at $13.51, down by 0.8% for the day.