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5 Leveraged Energy ETFs to Play Geopolitical Tensions in Gulf

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Benchmark oil prices jumped to their highest level since 2014 on Jan 18, 2022 on escalating geopolitical crisis. On Jan 17, 2022, Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group attacked the United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates has vowed to retaliate against Houthi militants for the attack that set off explosions in fuel trucks, killing three people, injuring six and causing a fire near the airport in Abu Dhabi.

This will likely result in a supply disruption and add to an already tight supply outlook. Oil prices have been rising since the beginning of 2022. In fact, Brent crude and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) have touched their highest prices since late November. The upside in the crude oil prices was triggered by a variety of factors like easing Omicron variant concerns, protests in Kazakhstan and outages in Libya causing supply shortages and less OPEC+ output.

Increased output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and allies, collectively called OPEC+, is falling short from the growth in demand. There was a 70,000 barrel per day increase in OPEC in December from the prior month against the 253, 000 bpd rise sanctioned under the OPEC+ supply agreement (according to a Reuters article). A Russian incursion into Ukraine has also been adding to the woes. United States Oil Fund LP (USO - Free Report) and United States Brent Oil Fund LP (BNO - Free Report) are up more than 10% this year.

Hence, leveraged energy ETFs are likely to be intriguing plays currently. Below, we have highlighted those leveraged ETFs in detail:

ETFs in Focus

ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas ETF (DIG - Free Report)

ProShares Ultra Oil & Gas ETF seeks to deliver twice (2X or 200%) the daily performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Index. The index measures the performance of the energy companies including oil drilling equipment and services, coal, oil companies-major, oil companies-secondary, pipelines, liquid, solid or gaseous fossil fuel producers and service companies. DIG charges 95 bps in fees per year.

Direxion Daily Energy Bull 2X Shares (ERX - Free Report)

Direxion Daily Energy Bull 2X Shares creates two times leveraged position in the Energy Select Sector Index, while charging 95 bps in fees a year. Expense ratio of ERX is 1.00%.

Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Bull 2X Shares (GUSH - Free Report)

Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Bull 2X Shares offers two times exposure to the daily performance of the S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Select Industry Index. The expense ratio of GUSH is 1.14%.

MicroSectors U.S. Big Oil Index 3X Leveraged ETN (NRGU - Free Report)

MicroSectors U.S. Big Oil Index 3X Leveraged ETN provides three times (3X or 300%) leveraged exposure to the Solactive MicroSectors U.S. Big Oil Index, which is equal-dollar weighted and provides exposure to the 10 largest U.S. energy and oil companies. Expense ratio comes in at 0.95%.

MicroSectors Oil & Gas Exploration & Production 3X Leveraged ETN (OILU - Free Report)

MicroSectors Oil & Gas Exploration & Production 3X Leveraged ETN is linked to three times leveraged performance of the MicroSectors Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Index. The index provides exposure to the large-capitalization companies that are domiciled and listed in the United States and that are active in the exploration and production of oil and gas. MicroSectors Oil & Gas Exploration & Production 3X Leveraged ETN charges investors 95 bps in annual fees and expenses.

Bottom Line

As a caveat, investors should note that these products are extremely volatile and suitable only for short-term traders. Additionally, the daily rebalancing — when combined with leverage — may make these products deviate significantly from the expected long-term performance figures. Still, for ETF investors who are bullish on the energy sector for the near term, either of the above products can be an interesting choice.