Energy Business

Oil and Gas Short Sellers May Be Taking Profits

Crude oil traded around $37.30 a barrel early Friday, down by about $1.40 a barrel over the past week. The price of crude has now returned to levels last seen in mid-June.

Of the companies we watch, short interest increased on three of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending August 31. Share prices decreased on all six of the stocks during the two-week period.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest rise by 9% to 18.9 million shares, which represents about 1% of the company’s float. Days to cover rose from two to three. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price dropped by about 5.8%. Its 52-week range is $51.60 to $125.27, and it closed at $78.15 on Thursday, down by about 2.4% for the day.

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s (NYSE: XOM) short interest rose by 9% to 45.6 million shares or about 1.1% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at two. In the two weeks to August 31, the share price fell by 7.7%. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.11 to $75.18, and it closed at $47.00 on Thursday, down by about 2.5% for the day.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a drop of 8% in short interest during the latter half of August. About 0.2% of the total float, or 6.3 million American depositary shares (ADSs), were short, and days to cover remained at one. The company’s shares dropped by about 9% over the two weeks, and they closed down by about 2% Thursday at $19.91, in a 52-week range of $15.51 to $40.08.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest fell by 1% in the final two weeks of August. Some 9.4 million shares were short, representing about 0.9% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained at two, and the stock price fell by about 7.2% during the period. Shares closed Thursday at $32.92, down by about 4.5%, in a 52-week range of $20.84 to $67.13.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, short interest dropped by 2% during the two-week period. Some 27.8 million ADSs were short as of August 31, about 0.8% of the total float. The ADSs closed at $8.34 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $4.01 to $16.84. They slipped by about 5.1% in the two-week short interest period, and days to cover remained at two.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest rise by 6% to 47.4 million shares. Days to cover remained at two, and about 5.1% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to August 31, the share price fell by about 13%. The stock’s 52-week range is $9.00 to $48.85, and shares closed Thursday at $10.19, down about 8% for the day.