Energy Business

Short Sellers Pull Back on Oil and Gas Stocks

Crude oil traded around $53.50 a barrel Wednesday morning, up by about $3.00 (nearly 6%) a barrel over the past week. Crude has traded between about $50.50 and $54.00 for the past week.

Of the companies we track, short interest decreased on five of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending December 31.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest tumble by 19% to around 14 million shares, which represent about 1% 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 about 3.1%. Its 52-week range is $51.60 to $117.29, and it closed at $93.34 on Tuesday.

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s (NYSE: XOM) short interest dipped by 1% to 44.1 million shares, or about 1% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at two. In the two weeks to December 31, the share price rose by 8.1%. Its 52-week range is $30.11 to $69.59, and the stock closed at $47.88 on Tuesday.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a drop of 16% in short interest during the two-week period. About 0.2% of the total float, or 6.4 million American depositary shares (ADSs), were short, and days to cover remained at one. The shares rose by about 4.9% over the two-week period and closed Tuesday at $25.01, in a 52-week range of $14.74 to $39.07.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest increased by 3% in the final two weeks of December. Some 42.8 million shares were short, representing about 4% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained at four, and the stock price rose by 1.1% during the period. Shares closed Tuesday at $47.42, in a 52-week range of $20.84 to $65.61.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR) short interest fell by 5% during the two-week period. Some 30.5 million ADSs were short as of December 31, less than 1% of the total float. They added 17.4% in the two-week short interest period, and days to cover remained at two. Petrobras closed at $11.72 on Tuesday, in a 52-week range of $4.01 to $15.23.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest decrease by 14% to 32.1 million shares. Days to cover remained at two, and about 3.5% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to December 31, the share price jumped by almost 10%. The stock’s 52-week range is $8.52 to $47.58, and shares closed Tuesday at $22.62. Oxy is one of six oil and gas stocks we profiled Tuesday that are trading well below 52-week highs.