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Has Short Interest in Total Fallen ahead of Earnings?

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Apr. 18 2019, Published 2:52 p.m. ET

Short interest in Total

Short interest in Total (TOT) has fallen by 0.07 percentage points since February 14, 2019, to its current level of 0.04% of its outstanding shares. Usually, a decline in short interest implies a reduction in bearish sentiment for the stock. However, in the same period, Total stock has fallen by 4.6%.

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Why the fall in bearish sentiment in Total?

Since February 14, bearish sentiments in Total have fallen likely due to a rise in oil prices and equity markets. WTI (West Texas Intermediate), the benchmark oil, has risen by 9.3% since February 14. The rise in the markets would have likely affected the sentiments. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) market indicator has risen by 3.2% since February 14.

Peers’ short interest

Short interest in Total’s peers ENI (E) and Suncor Energy (SU) has dropped by 0.01 percentage points and 0.27 percentage points, respectively, since February 14. Currently, short interest in ENI and Suncor stand at 0.01% and 0.45%, respectively. However, short interest in BP (BP) has risen by 0.04 percentage points over February 14 to 0.19%.

Since February 14, stock prices of ENI, Suncor, and BP have risen by 3.8%, 1.0%, and 6.2%, respectively.

Pre-earnings summary

Wall Street analysts expect Total to post dull Q1 2019 earnings on April 26, 2019, likely due to weaker upstream earnings led by lower oil prices. Oil prices, despite the rise in the first quarter, are lower on a quarterly average basis.

Total stock has risen since January 2. Plus, all analysts have assigned “buy” ratings on Total ahead of earnings presumably due to its robust upstream portfolio and strong financials. Moreover, Total’s dividend yield stands at 5.2% ahead of earnings. Also, short interest in Total has fallen since mid-February likely due to a rise in oil prices and equity markets.

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