Oil ETFs may have surged on word of a potential U.S. strike on Syria. Those that have been paying attention, however, realize that West Texas Crude has been comfortably above $100 per barrel for quite some time.
Moreover, commodity ETFs/ETNs that track oil and gasoline have performed remarkably well year-to-date.
Technical analysts see additional reason to be bullish on “black gold.” At the tail end of June, the 50-day moving average of the Goldman Sachs Crude Oil Total Return ETN (OIL) climbed above its 200-day moving average (a.k.a. “a golden cross”). One can also see a bullish pattern of “higher lows” in every month since April.
With stocks struggling to recapture momentum, should investors pursue oil as an alternative? Obviously, it is reasonable to consider supply disruptions in light of the potential for widening conflict in Syria and the Middle East at large. Yet Syria is a small net exporter of oil; similarly, Egypt imports as much as it exports. So the question on whether to get on the oil bus at this moment may depend on one’s expectation of just how bad things could get in the entire region.
Who or what is the wild card in this equation? Iran. According to WSJ.com, if Iran responds to U.S. intervention in dramatic fashion, we might see one-fifth of the global supply affected via the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.