For the better of the past 12 months, investing in the energy sector has taken fortitude. The sector was the worst performer in the S&P 500 in 2014 and the only to close the year in the red.
This year, there have been inklings of improved performance, but challenges remain as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) refuses to pare production. That has prompted some market observers to say the recent rally in crude oil futures has reached a near-term apex. [Energy ETFs Taxed by Oil Outlook]
Risk-tolerant investors willing to bet on increased volatility for energy equities have some new tools with which to make those wagers courtesy of the Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Bull Shares (NYSEArca: GUSH) and the Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Bear Shares (NYSEArca: DRIP). Those two new funds from Direxion, the second-largest issuer of inverse and leveraged ETFs, debuted Thursday.
GUSH seeks to deliver three times the daily performance of the S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Select Industry Index while DRIP attempts to deliver triple the daily inverse performance of that benchmark. The S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Select Industry Index is the underlying index for the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSEArca: XOP). XOP is up 2.7% this year.
“As of April 30, 2015, the Index was comprised of 98 stocks. The companies included in the Index have a median market capitalization of $3.89 billion and are concentrated in the energy and oil and gas sectors as of April 30, 2015. Component securities have capitalizations ranging from $412.7 million to $366.0 billion as of April 30, 2015,” according to Direxion.
Some oil market observers, though, argue that the energy sector could see further weakness as fundamentals remain unfavorable, with inventories reaching near their highest in over two decades. [Oil ETFs: Iraq, OPEC Maintaining Higher Exports]