Oil ETFs Down on Debt Jitters, Supply Data

July 28th at 8:05am by Tom Lydon

Oil exchange traded funds have followed crude futures lower this week as they back away from $100 a barrel on rising supplies and worries U.S. leaders won’t reach a compromise on the debt ceiling.

U.S. crude stockpiles increased 2.3 million barrels to 354 million last week, reports Ben Sharples for Bloomberg.

“You’ve got continued concerns with demand growth in the U.S.,” remarked Ben Westmore, minerals and energy economist at National Australia Bank Ltd. “Overlay that with the stocks report and it weighs on oil.”

In oil stocks, ConocoPhillips’s (NYSE: COP) second-quarter profits plummeted 18% after losing income from its former holdings in Russia, reports Isabel Ordonez for The Wall Street Journal.

Nevertheless, the company showed earnings of $17.09 per barrel of oil during the second quarter, almost double year-over-year, on high crude oil prices, reports Steve Gelsi for MarketWatch. ConocoPhillips is dumping its holdings on low quality oil fields and will focus on liquid-rich plays in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere, which the company believes will help set up more profitable returns in the coming months.

On Thursday, Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) said its second-quarter profit rose 41% from the year-ago period.

The price on crude oil has been on an upward streak, and some analysts believe that companies may show great results next quarter, writes Katie Little for CNBC.

“I think one of the things to keep in mind is next quarter, we’re probably looking at good numbers once again,” commented Blake Fernandez, a research analyst for Integrated Oil and Independent Refiners. “When I look at analyst expectations for crude prices, whether it be for WTI or Brent, I think they’re well below spot [current] prices.”

Fernandez expects that analysts will begin to revise upward third-quarter predictions.

Oil prices could see more volatility as the U.S. hurricane season arrives.

  • Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEArca: XLE)
  • U.S. Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO)
  • PowerShares DB Oil Fund (NYSEArca: DBO)
  • U.S. 12 Month Oil (NYSEArca: USL)

For more information on the energy sector, visit our energy category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.