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Chevron tops Tesla as most-shorted stock in April, says Hazeltree

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows Chevron logo and natural gas pipeline

(Corrects paragraph 5 to say Chevron beat not missed expectations; adds Chevron decline to comment in paragraph 4)

By Nell Mackenzie

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil company Chevron was the most shorted U.S. stock in April, overtaking long-standing top target Tesla as short-sellers up their bets on weaker energy prices, according to a monthly report by data and tech firm Hazeltree.

Chevron topped the Hazeltree Shortside Crowdedness Report list as the most shorted large cap stock in the United States, which the firm compiles based on stock borrowing data globally from about 700 asset management funds.

While the oil company has occupied second place in the last three months, April saw a jump of over $500 million worth of Chevron's total stock used for shorting, to about 9% from the previous month's roughly 7%.

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Chevron declined to comment.

Chevron, whose first-quarter results beat Wall Street consensus estimates, is feeling the pinch of weak energy prices and refining margins that have cooled in the last year. A glut of natural gas and a warmer-than-expected winter also depressed natural gas prices, eating into earnings.

However, Chevron's shares gained 1.38% in April, which added around $5 billion to its total market value, according to LSEG Datastream. A short position is a bet that a company's stock price will fall.

Hedge funds tracked by Goldman Sachs took much of their bets off of the table, ditching both long and short positions in the week to May 10, according to a recent note from the bank's prime brokerage.

The New York Stock Exchange composite index, of which Chevron is a part, lost about 3% in April.

Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(This story has been corrected to clarify that Chevron beat not missed expectations in paragraph 5 and to add that Chevron declined to comment in paragraph 4)

(Reporting by Nell Mackenzie; Editing by Amanda Cooper and Tomasz Janowski)