The United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, has been somewhat steady in recent weeks relative to the volatility many traders expected out of oil. Still, the outlook for crude held by most market participants is decidedly split.

Despite oil’s recent upside, the long oil trade as attracted plenty of naysayers. However, there are reasons for investors to be cautious with volatile energy ETFs. Moreover, if oil prices falls to new lows and the shale industry is unable to turn a profit, the highly leveraged industry may find it harder to repay debt obligations.

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member states and other international oil-producing nations are not doing the commodity any favors by refusing to trim to production, which could provide some relief to prices. In turn, plenty of market observers have doubts that oil’s recent upside can be a lasting theme. [Oil Rally Faces Headwinds]

USO has been somewhat steady following a sharp reversal in September that forced a spate of short covering. A short position is a sale on a borrowed security. The investor needs to eventually return the borrowed stock by purchasing it back from the open market. If the price falls, the investor buys it back for less than he or she sold it for and pockets the profit. [Widening Contango Could Cut Into Popular Oil ETF’s Returns]

“The channel drawn on the weekly chart for the popular Oil ETF (USO), should be one of the best tools to monitor whether the upward trade is working. Price has already made a decline into a target area for the Oil ETF, and we have placed the channel so that it best matches up with the structure of that decline,” according to See It Market.

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