Investing

Short Sellers Still Like Oil and Gas Stocks

Crude oil traded around $40 a barrel early Monday, up by about $0.75 a barrel over the past two weeks. Hopes for a quick economic recovery have been set aside as new cases of COVID-19 continue to spike. That plus a coming relaxation of the OPEC+ production cuts has begun to weigh on crude prices, which have remained in a narrow range around $40 for the past six weeks.

Of the companies we watch, short interest decreased on five of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending June 30. Share prices moved lower during the period for most of these oil and gas majors.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest plunge by 24.0% to 12.5 million shares, which represents about 0.7% 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 2.2%. The stock’s 52-week range is $51.60 to $127.00, and it closed at $85.23 on Friday, up by about 3.0% for the day.

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s (NYSE: XOM) short interest fell by 10.0% to 53.1 million shares, or about 1.3% of the company’s float. In the two weeks to June 30, the share price fell by about 5.1%. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.11 to $77.74, and it closed at $42.65 on Friday, up by about 3.1% for the day.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a rise of 4.0% in short interest during the two-week period. About 0.4% of the total float, or 12.0 million American depositary shares, were short, and days to cover remained at one. The company’s shares dropped by about 4.3% over the period, and they closed up by about 1.9% Friday, at $22.46 in a 52-week range of $15.51 to $41.08.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest fell by 5.0% in the two weeks. Some 11.2 million shares were short, representing about 1.1% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained at two, and the stock price slipped by about 3.1% during the period. Shares closed Friday at $39.69, up by about 3.5%, in a 52-week range of $20.84 to $67.13.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR), or Petrobras, short interest dropped by 11.0% during the period. Some 38.7 million ADSs were short as of June 30, about 1.4% of the total float. They closed at $8.70 on Friday, in a 52-week range of $4.01 to $16.88. Shares dipped by 1.3% in the two-week short interest period, and days to cover remained at two.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest rise by 2.0% to 54.0 million shares. Days to cover remained at two, and about 6.0% of the company’s shares were short. By the end of June, the share price fell by about 3.9%. Its 52-week range is $9.00 to $54.05, and shares closed Friday at $16.71, up by about 2.6% for the day.