Over the past week, hedge funders and other money managers’ bullish bets on Brent crude increased 12.4% to their highest level since record first started in 2011, according to the Commitment of Traders report from Intercontinental Exchange. J.P. Morgan Chase also found that the size of hedge fund bets on oil stocks jumped 77% over the week ended February 18, the largest gain in any sector.
ETF investors have also been diving into energy-related assets. Over the past month, XLE has attracted $346.4 million in net inflows, USO attracted $388.4 million and BNO added $6.6 million, according to ETF.com.
Looking ahead, some point to positive seasonal trends that should help support higher oil prices.
“The cheapest point is now. The demand story is not one of a global recession,” Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, told the WSJ, arguing that high seasonal demand should start in the spring as Americans take to the roads.
SPDR Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF
Max Chen contributed to this article.