The rapid volatility in oil has once again drummed up interest in the energy sector and the exchange traded funds (ETFs) that follow the commodity.
While closing down today at $41.70 a barrel, oil has rallied 23.1% from its Dec. 19 low of $33.87 a barrel.

Many analysts suggest that the rebound in the energy sector has been caused by the value-oriented types taking advantage of the sharp selloff in those shares at the end of the year and the rapid pullback in capital expenditures by large drillers which could cause supply issues if the economy recovers, states David Gaffen of The Wall Street Journal.

Oil seems to be a bit more volatile than other energy plays, and one may find himself in a pickle if it changes direction, making other energy plays a bit safer. Oil futures in the second half of 2009 are now trading at more than $60 a barrel, well above the spot price, indicating that some expect growth to come back. We could be in for some whipsaws.

Relatively speaking, energy ETFs could represent a bit more stability in this sector for investors who want in on oil without all the rapid ups and downs.

  • Oil Service Holdrs ETF (OIH): down 58.8% over the last 6 months, but flirting with its 50-day moving average.

  • Vanguard Energy ETF (VDE): down 40.1% over the last 6 months, but has crossed its 50-day moving average

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.