The United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, is up 5% over the past week and nearly 9% over the past month. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE), the largest equity-based energy exchange traded fund, is following suit with a weekly gain of almost 5% as well.
However, some technical analysts are concerned about the condition of energy stocks. In fact, some technical analysts believe XLE is close to committing, an often bearish signal that occurs when a security’s 200-day moving average falls below its 50-day line.
The death cross “does historically portend trouble for energy stocks when it happens in the XLE energy ETF. When the 50-day moving average crossed below the 200-day toward the end of 2014, the XLE ETF did not find a bottom until it had dropped by more than 40 percent,” reports CNBC.
Looking For Good News for Oil
Market observers and analysts argue that U.S. energy stocks are in a position to outperform broader equity markets this year, even if oil prices don’t move higher. The energy industry has grown more efficient after cutting costs in response to the plunge in crude oil prices in previous years, so they are now in a better position to improve revenue at lower oil prices.
“The XLE’s 50-day moving average fell below its 200-day at the beginning of the week. The ETF is currently trading around 4 percent above its 50-day and 3 percent above its 200-day,” reports CNBC.