The United States Heating Oil Fund (UHN) holds futures contracts for the commodity, reports Murray Coleman for Index Universe. It’s made up of near-month contracts set to expire, except when the contract is within two weeks of expiration. In that case, it invests in the next month.
One difference in this fund is that it takes advantage of something called "crack spreads," which measure the difference between profit margins when a barrel of oil is first handled to when it enters its final incarnation as things like heating oil or gas for your vehicle. Crack spreads are at historically high levels, and Coleman says that heating oil spreads on the New York Mercantile Exchange are running as high as $22.50.
This new fund is just the latest to cover the white-hot energy sector. In February, the United States Gasoline Fund (UGA) was launched – the first of its kind. The provider of UHN and UGA, Victoria Bay, also offer the United States Oil Fund (USO), United States 12-Month Oil Fund (USL) and United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG).
Speaking of "historic highs," the cost of a barrel of oil isn’t getting any cheaper, reports Kenneth Musante for CNNMoney. The slick stuff surged to a new record today, hitting $112.05 a barrel, topping the previous intraday record of $111.80 set on March 17.
The jump came when the Energy Information Administration said stocks fell by 3.2 million barrels. Analysts had been expecting a jump of 2.4 million barrels. The good news, according to the publisher of an industry newsletter, is that it’s a one-off to be corrected in the next two reports.
Gas is hitting new highs, too: $3.43, says AAA. Blame that on the seasonal purge of winter-grade fuel.