One of the standouts of today's afternoon trading session has been Exxon Mobil, which logged a -1.2% drop and underperformed the S&P 500 by -2.0%. The Oil & Gas Drilling stock is now trading at $107.72 per share and is -14.32% below its average target price of $125.73. Analysts have set target prices ranging from $110.0 to 150.0 dollars per share, and have given the stock an average rating of buy.
The market seems to share this rosy outlook, since Exxon Mobil has a short interest of only 1.1%. 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.
When a stock is sold short, it means an investor has borrowed shares of the stock from their broker, and then sold them at the going market price. The investor hopes for the price to decline, so that they might buy those shares back at a lower price in the future. Once they do, they can return the borrowed shares to their broker, and keep the profit they made on the transaction.
Another way to gauge the sentiment on Exxon Mobil is to look at the percentage of institutions that are invested in the stock. In this case, 60.7% 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 Exxon Mobil because of an analyst consensus of some upside potential, a buy rating, a very low short interest, 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 XOM:
It has trailing 12 month earnings per share (EPS) of $12.5 per share
Exxon Mobil has a trailing 12 month Price to Earnings (P/E) ratio of 8.6 while the S&P 500 average is 15.97
The company has a Price to Book (P/B) ratio of 2.17 in contrast to the S&P 500's average ratio of 2.95
Exxon Mobil is a Energy company, and the sector average P/E and P/B ratios are 7.54 and 1.68 respectively