Analysts at Sterne Agee said the short interest for the securities in the exploration and production sector under their coverage climbed 5.9%.

Sterne Agee analysts Tim Rezvan and Truman Hobbs used the latest short interest information released by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for securities on several exchanges as of January 30.

Short Interest Exploration and Production sector

According to Rezvan and Hobbs, the short interest in stock under their coverage happed amid a 4.9% increase in the S&P Exploration and Product ETF during the same period. The analysts noted that 14 out of the 20 companies under their coverage experienced an increase in short interest.

Investors started increasing their short positions in equites in the energy industry since the crude oil prices started to collapse primarily due to the oversupply worldwide.  Landsowne, Man Group and other hedge funds made profits from shorting energy companies.

The declining oil prices led to the reduction of oil and gas rig counts in the United States to its lowest level. The declining oil prices and the weakening of the oil and gas exploration and production sector also resulted to significant job cuts.

Based on the information, Rezvan and Hobbs found that the companies with the largest increases in short interest include South Western Energy, Carrizo Oil & Gas, Diamondback Energy and Rice Energy.

Southwestern Energy short interest rose 24.2%

The short interest in Southwestern Energy climbed 24.2%  to 49.2 million shares, which account 12.8% of its outstanding shares (2.9 days to cover).  The shares of the company closed $27.36 per share, up 1.9% today. The stock traded between $22.64 and $49.16 per share over the past 52-weeks. Southwester Energy lost 34% of its stock vale over the past year.

Carrizzo Oil & Gas short interest went up 13.4%

The short interest in Carrizo Oil & Gas rose 13.4% to 4.4 million shares, which represent 9.4% of its outstanding shares (3 days to cover). The stock price of Carrizo Oil &Gas went up 2.27% to $52.60 per share today. The stock traded between $31.70 and $70.49 per share over the past 52 week. The company gained more than 27% over the past year.

Diamondback Energy short interest increased 12.5%

On the other hand, The short interest in Diamondback Energy increased 12.5% to 4.6 million shares, which account 7.8% of its outstanding shares (3.1 days to cover). The stock price of Diamondback Energy slightly climbed to $73.46 per share. The company’s shares traded between $51.69 and $93.33 per share over the past 52 weeks. Diamondback Energy gained over 29% over the past year.

Rice Energy short interest jumped 12.5%

Meanwhile, the short interest in Rice Energy went up 12.5% to 11.2 million shares, which account 8.2% of its outstanding shares (5.7 days to cover). The stock price of the company traded between $16.04 and $34.34 over the past 52-weeks. Rice Energy’s shares close $18.95 per share, down 2% on Friday. The company lost 9% of its stock value year-to-date.

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