Equity-based energy exchange traded funds, namely the popular Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) and the rival Vanguard Energy ETF (NYSEArca: VDE), traded higher last year but were market laggards.

That laggard status has carried over into 2014, forcing XLE, the largest energy sector ETF, into a critical technical juncture. All that for XLE after recently trading to its highest levels since 2007.

“The Dow and S&P 500 are near all-time highs, energy stocks are attempting to join them. XLE recently hit its 2007 highs and backed off a little. The decline now has XLE testing support of this 6-year rising channel,” said technical analyst Chris Kimble of Kimble Charting Solutions.

“Important test for energy stocks right now? Yes!  Support and resistance are coming together for XLE, how it handles this support/resistance test in the next couple of weeks could tell us a bundle about the future of energy stocks 6 months from now!,” added Kimble.

Pivotal to the fortunes of ETFs such as XLE and VDE are Dow components Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX), the two largest U.S. oil companies. Those stocks combine for almost 29% of XLE’s weight. With a weight of 15.7%, Exxon commands at least double the weight of 45 of XLE’s other 46 holdings with Chevron being the outlier.