The United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO) is up nearly 12% in just the past week, a run that is aiding the bottoming process for an array of equity-based energy exchange traded funds.

That group includes the $1.69 billion SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSEArca: XOP), an ETF whose often close correlation to oil prices cut both ways. XOP confirmed as much last year. When USO tumbled more than 42%, XOP plunged 29.4%, a loss that was more than triple those of more traditional energy ETFs that are heavily allocated to the largest integrated oil companies. However, XOP’s technicals indicate green shoots are starting to emerge.

XOP “set its low-water mark in December, and since then has formed a series of higher highs and higher lows,” writes Michael Kahn for Barron’s.

XOP’s recent rally has helped the ETF reclaim its 20- and 50-day moving averages, action similar to what has been seen in the Market Vectors Oil Service ETF (NYSEArca: OIH). XOP now resides an average of 8.5% above its 20- and 50-day lines, but like OIH, XOP is also well below its 200-day moving average. The exploration and production ETF is more than 12% below that line, which it has not closed above since October. [Oil Services ETF Could Surge]

“One of the simplest is the moving average. Here, we see the ETF moving above the key 50-day average in February and then settling back to test it again in March. Since it has already spent several days back above the average, this leans bullish,” adds Kahn. “The next is the long-term price floor in the $44.30 area. Although violated slightly in December and January, the small undercut of a support that goes back to highs and lows in 2008, 2010 and 2012 deserves a little leeway. With trading now around $52, we can say that long-term support held.”

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