Entering Tuesday’s session, Exxon and Chevron were saddled with year-to-date losses of about 10%, stumbles that have also pressured the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) where Chevron is the sixth-largest holding. [Energy ETFs Stumble to Start 2014]

Energy stocks and ETFs like XLE and VDE have also disappointed even as natural gas prices have soared. Natural gas is the best performing commodity in the S&P GSCI Commodity Index this year, an important factoid because Exxon and friends have previously been criticized for being too “gassy” in their output levels. In fact, Exxon Mobil is the largest natural gas producer in the U.S. [ETFs Left Behind as Nat Gas Soars]

XLE needs to hold support in the $83-$84 area or risk significant price decay, a scenario that would increase the allure of the UltraShort Oil & Gas ProShares (NYSEArca: DUG) and the Direxion Daily Energy Bear 3X Shares (NYSEArca: ERY).

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