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Analyzing Short Interest in Marathon Oil Stock

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Short interest in Marathon Oil stock

As of June 30, 2017, Marathon Oil’s (MRO) total shares shorted (or short interest) stood at ~51.7 million, whereas its average daily volume was ~15.1 million. That means the short interest ratio in MRO stock is ~3.4x. The 52-week range for the short interest ratio in MRO stock is 1.35x–5.00x.

Current short interest in MRO stock as a percentage of shares outstanding is ~6.1%. That’s higher than many other companies in the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP).

In fiscal 2017, short interest in Marathon Oil stock as a percentage of shares outstanding has risen from ~5.3% to ~6.1%, despite a ~32.0% fall in its stock.

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Marathon Oil’s institutional activity

In 1Q17, 257 funds were buyers of Marathon Oil (MRO) stock, and 284 funds were sellers. That means that in 1Q17, total selling funds outnumbered total buying funds by 27. As of March 31, 2017, 568 13F filers held MRO in their portfolios. Of those, only four filers had MRO in their top ten holdings. Even from an aggregate shares point of view, for 1Q17, 13F filers reduced their aggregate MRO positions by 2.9%, or from ~704.7 million shares to ~684.4 million shares.

Form 13F is an SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) mandate that must be submitted by all institutional investors who manage more than $100.0 million in assets.

Other upstream players

Other oil and gas exploration and production companies such as W&T Offshore (WTI) and Kosmos Energy (KOS) have short interest as a percentage of shares outstanding of ~7.4% and ~8.9%, respectively. Like Marathon Oil, Kosmos Energy and W&T Offshore both saw increases in their short interest in the past month. The Direxion Daily Energy Bull 3X ETF (ERX) is a leveraged fund that invests in domestic companies from the energy sector.

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