Oil and Gas Short Sellers Bet on Another Drop in Crude Prices

Crude oil traded around $45.20 a barrel at noon Wednesday, up by about $3.00 (about 7.1%) a barrel over the past week. Trading broke above $45 a barrel Tuesday morning.

Of the companies we watch, short interest increased on five of six energy stocks during the two-week reporting period ending November 13. Share prices increased significantly on all six stocks during that time.

Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) saw short interest rise by 3% to 14.8 million shares, which represents about 1.1% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at two. In the two-week short interest period, the share price jumped by about 19.5%. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $51.60 to $122.72, and it traded at $93.40 on Wednesday.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) short interest rose by 1% to 50.8 million shares, or about 1.2% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained at two. In the two weeks to November 13, the share price rose by 13.3%. The 52-week trading range is $30.11 to $71.37, and shares traded at $41.10 on Wednesday.

BP PLC (NYSE: BP) saw a drop of 20% in short interest during the two-week period. About 0.2% of the total float, or 8.1 million American depositary shares (ADSs), were short, and the days to cover remained at one. The shares jumped by about 23.8% over the two-week period and traded Wednesday at $21.40, in a 52-week range of $14.74 to $40.08.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) short interest increased by 34% in the first two weeks of November. Some 34.6 million shares were short, representing about 3.2% of the company’s total float. Days to cover rose from three to four, and the stock price rose by 23.6% during the period. Shares traded Wednesday at $44.20, in a 52-week range of $20.84 to $67.13.

Petróleo Brasileiro S.A.’s (NYSE: PBR) short interest soared by 73% during those two weeks. Some 34 million ADSs were short as of November 13, about 0.8% of the total float. Petrobras traded at $10.00 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $4.01 to $16.30. It added nearly 29% in the short interest period, and days to cover rose from one to two.

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) saw short interest decrease by 27% to 34.7 million shares. Days to cover remained at two, and about 3.7% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to November 13, the share price jumped by more than 29%. The 52-week range is $8.52 to $47.58, and shares traded Wednesday at $16.50.

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