Last week was another brutal one at the office for oil and the related exchange traded products. Although the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, rose nearly 1% last Friday, the benchmark oil ETF fell almost 4.4% for the week.
That brings USO’s year-to-date loss to over 25%. Further underscoring the weakness in the oil patch are the following data points. Three of the ETFs that made new 52-week lows last Friday were oil or energy funds and that does not include a country fund following stocks in a nation that is member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
While OPEC is cutting back to alleviate price pressures, U.S. fracking companies could jump to capitalize on the windfall as crude oil prices jump back above $50 per barrel – according to some estimates, shale oil producers can get by with oil at just over $50 per barrel due to advancements in technology and drilling techniques that have helped cut down costs.