When it comes to energy equities and exchange traded funds, less bad is as good as it gets this year. Fortunately for the PowerShares Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production Portfolio (NYSEArca: PXE), a smart beta spin on exploration and production stocks, the ETF is in the less bad category.

Less bad because PXE is down 15.2% compared to a year-to-date loss of 21.6% for the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE). Oil supply is abundant, OPEC is not doing anything about that and plenty of market observers are calling for near-term declines for crude prices. Those factors could bode well for refining equities and the currently small number of ETFs that offer robust refiners exposure, including PXE. [Why These Energy ETFs Impress]

“The impressive total return performance of PXE relative to its peers suggests that the Intellidex methodology has worked very well for this ETF. Given the Intellidex’s focus on factors including price momentum, earnings momentum, quality, management action, and value, PXE could easily be considered to be a ‘smart beta’ fund, although its inception (in 2005) took place long before this marketing label became popular,” according to a Seeking Alpha analysis of PXE.

PXE’s underlying index considers companies based on price momentum, earnings momentum, quality, management action, and value, according to PowerShares.