Energy ETFs Offer Favorable Set-Up Thanks to Oil

The Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE), the largest equity-based energy exchange traded fund, is the second-best performer among this year among the sector SPDR ETFs, trailing only its utilities counterpart.

XLE also proved steady during oil’s recent downturn and that strength could be a sign of more upside to come for the benchmark energy ETF. The third quarter is historically unkind to the energy sector, but some industry observers believe the recent pullback in crude prices is not a cause for alarm and that there is still upside available with some of the big-name integrated oil companies held by ETFs like XLE.

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Rivals to XLE include the Vanguard Energy ETF (NYSEArca: VDE), iShares U.S. Energy ETF (NYSEArca: IYE) and the Fidelity MSCI Energy Index ETF (NYSEArca: FENY).

Investors should be aware that XLE and its aforementioned rivals allocated hefty portions of their lineups to the largest oil companies, including Dow components Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX) along with Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB), the largest oilfield services provider. In some cases Exxon Mobil and Chevron, the two largest U.S. oil companies, combine for up to a third of these ETFs’ weights.


Integrated oil stocks have refining exposure, a segment that benefits when oil prices are low due to improved margins. That can help steady diversified energy ETFs like XLE because these are not dedicated exploration and production funds.

XLE is “vaulting above inverse head & shoulders neckline looks positive (crude has similar pattern, though yet to take out trigger line),” according to Reuters. The ETF is set to “to rally to 50-pct and 61.8-pct Fibo retracements of 2014-2016 bear can target $75.72 and $81.81; inverse H&S calls for surprise longer-term advance to at least $91.00.”