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.

“Government data also showed a surprise build in U.S. gasoline stocks, which rose by 2.5M barrels vs. expectations for a ~200K-barrel drawdown,” according to Seeking Alpha. “Prices for the April WTI contract settled 4.8% lower in February, the first monthly loss since August, while Brent crude fell 4.7% for the month in its first monthly loss since June.”

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).

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