OPEC Output Freeze Speculation Lift Oil, Energy ETFs

Energy sector exchange traded funds surged alongside crude oil prices as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries set plans for informal talks in September, fueling speculation that the oil cartel could execute an output freeze in light of the recent plunge back into a bear market on a glut in gasoline fuel.

Leading the charge on Monday, the PowerShares S&P SmallCap Energy Portfolio (NasdaqGM: PSCE) gained 3.8%, PowerShares Dyanmic Oil and Gas Service ETF (NYSEArca: PXJ) increased 3.6% and SPDR Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF (NYSEArca: XES) rose 3.4%. Small-cap and services & equipment energy companies have been among the most sensitive to changes in crude oil prices.

Energy was the best performing S&P 500 sector on Monday, with the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) up 1.8%.

Meanwhile, the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, surged 2.8% and the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO), which tracks Brent crude oil futures, jumped 2.3% on Monday. WTI oil futures were up 3.0% to $43.1 per barrel while Brent crude futures were 2.6% higher to $45.4 per barrel.

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Oil prices bounced after Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar’s energy minister and holder of OPEC’s rotating presidency, said that OPEC members are in “constant deliberations” on stabilizing the market and prices are expected to rise in the later part of 2016, Bloomberg reports.

“This is a very formal announcement to an informal meeting and that has bullish implications,” Jason Schenker, president of Prestige Economics LLC, told Bloomberg. “The statement said OPEC expects the market to be balanced before long, and that the group believes the drop in prices is temporary.”


However, many traders remain bearish over the short-term, betting on weakening seasonal trends. Money managers increased wagers on declines in oil prices to a record on increasing U.S. inventories and ahead of a seasonal refinery maintenance that will curb crude demand – futures have dipped in each of the past five Septembers, reports Mark Shenk for Bloomberg.