Why Are People Selling Their PSX Shares?

One of the standouts of today's afternoon trading session has been Phillips 66, which logged a -5.1% drop and underperformed the S&P 500 by -5.0%. The Oil & Gas Integrated stock is now trading at $109.72 per share and is -16.56% below its average target price of $131.5. Analysts have set target prices ranging from $115.0 to 144.0 dollars per share, and have given the stock an average rating of buy.

The market seems to share this rosy outlook, since Phillips 66 has a short interest of only 2.5%. This represents the percentage of the share float that is being shorted, and each short position stands for an investor's expectation that the price of the stock will go down in the future.

Short selling involves borrowing shares and then selling them at current market prices. In the successful version of the strategy, the shares are purchased at a lower price at some time in the future. The investor then returns the shares to the lender, and keeps the profit made on the sell/buy transaction.

Another way to gauge the sentiment on Phillips 66 is to look at the percentage of institutions that are invested in the stock. In this case, 72.9% of the shares are held by pension, mutual, and hedge funds, which shows that these institutions probably have strong confidence in the stock.

If institutions are invested in a particular stock, it shows in most cases that they have performed quality research and concluded that it is a good investment. In some cases, however, increases in institutional ownership could be a sign of a takeover attempt or proxy fight, which can actually injure share prices. Also, institutions are not infallible, and can certainly make miscalculations -- often with spectacular results.

Overall, there is mixed market sentiment towards Phillips 66 because of an analyst consensus of some upside potential, a buy rating, an average amount of shares sold short, and an average number of institutional investors. Investors should not base their decisions on market sentiment only, they should also be aware of a stock's fundamentals before committing.

At a glance, here are some essential statistics you may want to know about PSX:

  • It has trailing 12 month earnings per share (EPS) of $23.19 per share

  • Phillips 66 has a trailing 12 month Price to Earnings (P/E) ratio of 4.7 while the S&P 500 average is 15.97

  • The company has a Price to Book (P/B) ratio of 1.63 in contrast to the S&P 500's average ratio of 2.95

  • Phillips 66 is a Energy company, and the sector average P/E and P/B ratios are 7.54 and 1.68 respectively

The above analysis is intended for educational purposes only and was performed on the basis of publicly available data. It is not to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Any buy, sell, or other recommendations mentioned in the article are direct quotations of consensus recommendations from the analysts covering the stock, and do not represent the opinions of Market Inference or its writers. Past performance, accounting data, and inferences about market position and corporate valuation are not reliable indicators of future price movements. Market Inference does not provide financial advice. Investors should conduct their own review and analysis of any company of interest before making an investment decision.