A lot has been said about the oil price disaster over the last few days. The concerns flared up the investing world on Apr 20 after May WTI crude futures plunged, lost all value and dropped to below zero for
the first time in history. Weak demand, supply glut and most importantly storage crisis resulted in the catastrophy.
WTI crude ETF
United States Oil Fund, LP ( USO Quick Quote USO - Free Report) and Brent ETF United States Brent Oil Fund, LP ( BNO Quick Quote BNO - Free Report) lost about 11% and 6.9%, respectively, on Apr 20. Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund ( XLE Quick Quote XLE - Free Report) retreated 3.1% on Apr 20. Notably, the price of oil continued to decline even after OPEC and its allies agreed to the biggest-ever production cut (read: OPEC Output Deal Cut: Will It Help Oil & Energy ETFs?).
Though the price for the May contract recovered later, pressure will remain in the place in the near term. Against this backdrop, below we highlight a few ETF strategies that can be beneficial in the ongoing oil market rout.
WTI oil price has tumbled about 70% so far this year and Brent skidded about 61%. Many countries are still under lockdowns and oil storages – both onshore and offshore – are running out. This could potentially cause prices to drop even further. The scenario can be tapped via an inverse or leveraged inverse play on energy or oil. Inverse oil ETF
ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil (is a good bet here. The fund gained 11.4% on Apr 20 and added 25.9% in the pre-market session, at the time of writing. SCO Quick Quote SCO - Free Report) Tap ETFs With Exposure to Tankers
Since in-land storage is running out, participants have turned to the
estimated 400 million barrels of floating storage leading to a solid uptick in freight rates for ships. Some supertankers have been booked to stockpile crude for up to three years, possibly the longest period of time for offshore storage.
The Transportation – Shipping industry currently has a favorable Zacks Industry Rank (placed at the top 23% of total 250+ industries in the Zacks universe). The fund
Invesco Dynamic Oil & Gas Services ETF ( PXJ Quick Quote PXJ - Free Report) have considerable exposure to tankers like DHT Holdings Inc. and DHT Frontline Ltd. . These stocks are simply surging. FRO Natural Gas A Huge Beneficiary Per some analysts, with the shutting-in of oil wells (due to low prices), producers will also lose on some associated natural gas production. Plus, forecast of inclement weather both on the east and west coast, has probably boosted demand for natural gas. iPath Series B Bloomberg Natural Gas Subindex Total ReturnSM ETN ( GAZ Quick Quote GAZ - Free Report) added 7.8% on Apr 20. The equity segment of the commodity has also gained as First Trust Natural Gas ETF (advanced 4.1% on the day.The fund yields 5.80% annually. FCG Quick Quote FCG - Free Report) Great Cushion for Oil Importing Countries
India, which hosts 1.3 billion people, is the world’s third-largest oil consumer and imports about 80% of its oil requirements. Hence, having taken advantage of the prevailing damn cheap oil prices,
the country is stockpiling on the liquid commodity as part of the strategic petroleum reserves (SPRs).
In March, the Confederation of Indian Industry indicated that would save a solid
$45 billion on oil imports next financial year. Now, since the pricing crash has aggravated, the favorable impact on India’s foreign currency reserves should be more pronounced.
This is likely to provide some relief to the government to fight the coronavirus-led economic fallout. Investors can take a shot at India investing with
Invesco India ETF ( PIN Quick Quote PIN - Free Report) and iShares India 50 ETF ( INDY Quick Quote INDY - Free Report) . Another big importer Turkey is also resorting to strategic reserves. So, investors can have a look at iShares MSCI Turkey ETF TUR too. Go for Gold Miners
Low oil prices are a plus for miners. Mining companies’ 50% production costs are closely linked to energy prices. Cheap oil despite the biggest output cut deal by the OPEC should work wonders for gold miners’ operating margins. In any case, gold will be in high demand due to its safe-haven status. Global policy stimulus gives further support to it.
VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX Quick Quote GDX - Free Report) added 2.7% on Apr 20 (read: 5 Reasons Why Gold Mining ETFs & Stocks Have More Room to Run). Beware of Bank Stocks & Junk Bonds
Big banks have already raised concerns about severe economic downturns and worsening credit quality. With oil suffering to this extent, there will likely be a rise in delinquency rates from energy companies. Also, the energy debt, which looks prone to default now, has presence in the junk-bond market.
iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF ( IYG Quick Quote IYG - Free Report) and SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond ETF ( JNK Quick Quote JNK - Free Report) thus demand more caution now (read: Fed Goes the Extra Mile: 6 ETF Areas to Win). Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox?
Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.
Get it free >>