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Has Short Interest in Total Fallen Pre-Earnings?

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Jan. 28 2019, Updated 7:30 a.m. ET

Short interest in Total

Short interest in Total (TOT) has fallen 0.07 percentage points since October 1, 2018 (the beginning of the fourth quarter), to its current level of 0.03% of its outstanding shares. Usually, a fall in short interest implies a reduction in bearish sentiments for a stock. However, in the same period, Total stock has fallen 18.3%.

The fall in bearish sentiments for Total may have been due to the company’s robust third-quarter earnings results, which surpassed estimates. Total’s adjusted net income rose 48% YoY (year-over-year) to $4.0 billion in the third quarter of 2018. The YoY rise in the company’s adjusted net income was the result of its higher adjusted operating income.

Since December 24, the rise in oil prices and equity markets may have led to an increase in positive sentiments for Total stock. The company is also expected to post better earnings in the fourth quarter, so positive sentiments have likely built up in anticipation of its earnings.

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Peers’ short interests

Equinor’s (EQNR) and Petrobras’s (PBR) short interests have fallen 0.04 percentage points and 0.45 percentage points, respectively, since October 1. Currently, their short interests are 0.17% and 0.82%, respectively. Short interest in Eni (E) has fallen 0.01 percentage points to 0.01% since October 1.

Equinor and Eni have seen their stock prices fall 22.1% and 13.0%, respectively, since October 1. Petrobras stock has risen 25.7% in the same period.

Series roundup

In this series, we’ve reviewed Total’s EPS estimates and segmental earnings prospects for the fourth quarter of 2018. We’ve evaluated its stock performance, its dividend yield trend, and analysts’ ratings ahead of its earnings results. We’ve also calculated its stock price forecast range for the 16 days leading up to February 7. We’ve concluded the series with a review of Total’s short interest.

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