Oil and Gas Short Sellers Still Seeing Profits

Crude oil traded around $40.20 a barrel early Friday, down by about $0.50 a barrel over the past week. Trading remains in a narrow range right around $40 a barrel where it’s been stuck for about three months.

Of the companies we watch, short interest increased on three of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending September 15. However, share prices decreased on five of the six stocks during those two weeks.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest rise by 10.5% to 20.8 million shares, which represents about 1.1% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at three. In the short interest period through September 15, the stock’s share price dropped by about 9%. Its 52-week range is $51.60 to $122.94, and it closed at $71.80 on Thursday, down by about 0.2% for the day.

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s (NYSE: XOM) short interest fell by 8% to 42.1 million shares, or about 1% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at two. In the first two weeks of September, the share price fell by 9.2%. The stock’s 52-week range is $30.11 to $73.12, and it closed at $34.32 on Thursday, down by about 0.2% for the day.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) had a rise of 3% in short interest during the 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 company’s shares dropped by about 6.1% over the two-week period. They closed down by about 2% Thursday, at $17.93 in a 52-week range of $15.51 to $40.08.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest fell by 4% in those two weeks. Some 9 million shares were short, representing about 0.8% of the company’s total float. Days to cover remained at two, and the stock price fell by about 10.8% during the period. Shares closed Thursday at $33.60, up by about 2.1%, in a 52-week range of $20.84 to $67.13.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A.’s (NYSE: PBR) short interest dropped by 39% during the two-week period. Some 18 million ADSs were short as of September 15, about 0.5% of the total float. They rose by about 1.2% in the short interest period, and days to cover dipped from two to one. Petrobras closed at $7.63 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $4.01 to $16.84.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest rise by 5% to 49.7 million shares. Days to cover remained at two, and about 5.4% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to September 15, the share price fell by nearly 16%. The stock’s 52-week range is $9.00 to $47.58, and shares closed Thursday at $10.64, up by about 2.2% for the day.

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