After the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to keep the crude oil pumps flowing, energy-related exchange traded funds plunged, with oil prices near the financial depression lows.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures fell 5.2% to $37.9 per barrel on Monday while Brent crude oil futures were 4.7% lower to $41.0 per barrel. The last time oil prices traded around these levels was during the financial downturn after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
The United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, declined 5.9% and the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, decreased 5.7% on Monday. Both crude oil futures-backed ETFs were trading at all-time lows. Unlike the crude oil spot prices, USO and BNO track near month futures contracts and roll the contracts before expiry, which may leave the funds vulnerable to contango. [Widening Contango Could Cut Into Popular Oil ETF’s Returns]
Meanwhile, in the U.S. equities market, energy was the worst performing sector on Monday, with the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) down 4.3%.
On the other hand, investors who hedged oil exposure were capitalizing on the energy market’s misfortunes. For instance, the simple inverse United States Short Oil (NYSEArca: DNO) was 6.5% higher Monday while the DB Crude Oil Short ETN (NYSEArca: SZO) was up 4.7%. For the more aggressive trader, there are number of leveraged options, including the ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil (NYSEArca: SCO), which tries to reflect the two times inverse or -200% daily performance of WTI crude oil, and DB Crude Oil Double Short ETN (NYSEArca: DTO), which also follows a -200% performance of oil, jumped 17.4%. Lastly, the VelocityShares 3x Inverse Crude (NYSEArca: DWTI) takes the three times inverse or -300% performance of crude oil. SCO advanced 11.8%, DTO jumped 10.0% and DWTI surged 17.6%. [Don’t Bet on an OPEC Boost for Oil ETFs]
Crude oil prices fell to their lowest levels since early 2009 after OPEC’s meeting Friday ended without an agreement to lower production, Reuters reports.
OPEC has been fueling a global supply glut in an attempt to maintain market share and squeeze out high-cost oil producers, such as the nascent shale industry in the U.S.