Oil's Woes Worsen, Putting USO in a Bear Market

The United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO), which tracks West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, continues making new lows. Down more than 2% over the past week, the heavily traded oil exchange traded product is now lower by 21.2% this year, officially putting it in a bear market.

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.

On Wednesday, USO and oil prices slumped “after a one-two punch from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA). Specifically, the EIA reported a surprising rise in U.S. gasoline inventories last week, while the IEA warned of a continued oil supply glut through 2017. Against this backdrop, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is exploring annual lows, and options on the oil exchange-traded fund (ETF) are flying off the shelves,” reports Schaeffer’s Investment Research.

Some oil market observers see more declines coming for crude. Oil traders are concerned over how fast U.S. shale oil producers will increase production to capture the rising prices.