Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. The Trump Stock Market Trap May Be Triggered - Barry_M_Ferguson
2.Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - Richard_Mills
3.US China War - Thucydides Trap and gold - Richard_Mills
4.Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - Anika_Walayat
6.US Dollar Breakdown Begins, Gold Price to Bolt Higher - Jim_Willie_CB
7.INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - N_Walayat
9.US Prepares for Currency War with China - Richard_Mills
10.Gold Price Epochal Breakout Will Not Be Negated by a Correction - Clive Maund
Last 7 days
This Dividend Aristocrat Is Leading the 5G Revolution - 22nd July 19
What the World Doesn’t Need Now is Lower Interest Rates - 22nd July 19
My Biggest 'Fear' For Silver - 22nd July 19
Reasons to Buy Pre-Owned Luxury Car from a Certified Dealer - 22nd July 19
Stock Market Increasing Technical Weakness - 22nd July 19
What Could The Next Gold Rally Look Like? - 22nd July 19
Stock Markets Setting Up For A Volatility Explosion – Are You Ready? - 22nd July 19
Anatomy of an Impulse Move in Gold and Silver Precious Metals - 22nd July 19
What you Really need to Know about the Stock Market - 22nd July 19
Has Next UK Financial Crisis Just Started? Bank Accounts Being Frozen - 21st July 19
Silver to Continue Lagging Gold, Will Struggle to Overcome $17 - 21st July 19
What’s With all the Weird Weather?  - 21st July 19
Halifax Stopping Customers Withdrawing Funds Online - UK Brexit Banking Crisis Starting? - 21st July 19
US House Prices Trend Forecast 2019 to 2021 - 20th July 19
MICROSOFT Cortana, Azure AI Platform Machine Intelligence Stock Investing Video - 20th July 19
Africa Rising – Population Explosion, Geopolitical and Economic Consquences - 20th July 19
Gold Mining Stocks Q2’19 Results Analysis - 20th July 19
This Is Your Last Chance to Dump Netflix Stock - 19th July 19
Gold and US Stock Mid Term Election and Decade Cycles - 19th July 19
Precious Metals Big Picture, as Silver Gets on its Horse - 19th July 19
This Technology Everyone Laughed Off Is Quietly Changing the World - 19th July 19
Green Tech Stocks To Watch - 19th July 19
Double Top In Transportation and Metals Breakout Are Key Stock Market Topping Signals - 18th July 19
AI Machine Learning PC Custom Build Specs for £2,500 - Scan Computers 3SX - 18th July 19
The Best “Pick-and-Shovel” Play for the Online Grocery Boom - 18th July 19
Is the Stock Market Rally Floating on Thin Air? - 18th July 19
Biotech Stocks With Near Term Catalysts - 18th July 19
SPX Consolidating, GBP and CAD Could be in Focus - 18th July 19
UK House Building and Population Growth Analysis - 17th July 19
Financial Crisis Stocks Bear Market Is Scary Close - 17th July 19
Want to See What's Next for the US Economy? Try This. - 17th July 19
What to do if You Blow the Trading Account - 17th July 19
Bitcoin Is Far Too Risky for Most Investors - 17th July 19
Core Inflation Rises but Fed Is Going to Cut Rates. Will Gold Gain? - 17th July 19
Boost your Trading Results - FREE eBook - 17th July 19
This Needs To Happen Before Silver Really Takes Off - 17th July 19
NASDAQ Should Reach 8031 Before Topping - 17th July 19
US Housing Market Real Terms BUY / SELL Indicator - 16th July 19
Could Trump Really Win the 2020 US Presidential Election? - 16th July 19
Gold Stocks Forming Bullish Consolidation - 16th July 19
Will Fed Easing Turn Out Like 1995 or 2007? - 16th July 19
Red Rock Entertainment Investments: Around the world in a day with Supreme Jets - 16th July 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Top AI Stocks Investing to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend

The Wrong Way to Profit From Crude Oil

Commodities / Crude Oil Jan 28, 2009 - 12:17 PM GMT

By: Investment_U

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleYou might think you're properly invested in oil, but you could be wrong.

Despite reaching lows since 2004, the long-term outlook for oil is still up. Maybe not $147 a barrel like the old days (i.e. six months ago), but because of supply, demand, turmoil in the Middle East, and the fact that we will eventually resume worldwide economic growth, oil prices have only one way to go.


If you think you've positioned yourself according, or if you're thinking about a new investment in oil… tread carefully. Here's why:

I covered a situation last week call contango. It's a feature of futures markets where you can buy oil cheap right now and lock in a contract to sell it in the future for a higher price. Normally, the difference between those prices is so close to the cost of storing the oil that it's not a profitable trade.

But right now, we're in a state of super-contango. Prices are way out of whack. And commodity investors are storing oil everywhere they can to earn the excess profits. (For a more detailed description, see contango .)

Contango is big news now. But some of the “traditional” oil investments that are being tossed around aren't what they seem to be. In fact, if you skipped some very fine print, you could have set yourself up for a huge disappointment.

So let's clear that up… and pad our pockets with a little extra in the process.

You're Not Buying What You Think You're Buying

When we broke the news on contango, we suggested looking at some oil storage providers, explorers and drillers. And that hasn't changed. Looking around, there are a number of “oil investments” that look promising.

One would think the quickest way to invest in rising oil prices would be to simply buy shares of an oil-based ETF, like United States Oil (NYSE: USO ). These oil ETFs are very popular – USO trades over 34 million shares per day.

But not so fast.

These funds don't buy and sell oil for profit. They trade futures contracts on oil. And while there are a few ways to do that – some good, some bad – they may not be the best way to take advantage of contango. Let me explain.

USO buys a contract for oil for the very next month. Before it expires, they sell it off and buy one for the next month. In a contango situation the returns will indisputably be lower. (Conversely, during the opposite of contango, “backwardation,” the fund returns will be higher).

USO makes no secret of this. They print it in their risk disclosures that contango is not good for their fund.

And they are not alone. The iPath GSCI Crude Oil ETN (NYSE: OIL ) and the Powershares DB Crude Oil ETN (NYSE: OLO ) use the same methodologies. (Though OLO actively manages its roll forward strategy to reduce losses.)

But don't give up on investing in oil.

Every Problem Has a Solution

In fact, the same manager that runs the USO fund runs another, custom designed to benefit from situations like this. It's called the United States 12 Month Oil Fund (NYSE: USL ). It uses a 12-month average of futures prices that will lessen the losses caused by a contango market.

Here's the interesting thing. Oil markets usually exhibit a small amount of contango, it's a natural result of price fluctuations. But its opposite, backwardation, is the rarity. So even if we were in a normal oil situation, wouldn't the 12 Month Fund be better?

In fact, wouldn't it make sense all the time? It would seem to be so.

Obviously, oil prices have been down… but you'd have fared significantly better investing in USL. Reading the fine print on an ETF isn't the most entertaining way to spend your day, but it's certainly worth a near 15% difference in performance.

If we were to enter a backwardation period, USO would then outperform. But since backwardation is so rare… you can expect USL will outperform consistently over the short and long term.

Ahead of the tape,

by Matt Weinschenk , Senior Analyst, The White Cap Report

http://www.investmentu.com

Copyright © 1999 - 2009 by The Oxford Club, L.L.C All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Investment U, Attn: Member Services , 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore, MD 21201 Email: CustomerService@InvestmentU.com

Disclaimer: Investment U Disclaimer: Nothing published by Investment U should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investment advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication or 72 hours after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Investment U should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Investment U Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Comments

marketfolly@gmail.com
29 Jan 09, 09:59
market folly

Matt,

thanks for the article.. hadn't looked into USL before. we actually just recently posted two articles regarding ETFs/ETNs and crude oil.

how contango affects them: http://www.marketfolly.com/2009/01/how-contango-affects-crude-oil-etfs-and.html

and just a general comparison of each as a play on crude: http://www.marketfolly.com/2009/01/how-to-play-crude-oil-using-etfs-etns.html

would love any comments or follow-up. thanks


mario
31 Jan 09, 04:45
levered ETF

there are also leveraged (2x)etf like DXO, now i think it's time to buy those oil related etf and wait, we have time as our ally, contined oil production cuts will have effect ,

can u please write an article about all leveraged etf?

i mean etf on energies,softs metals with a reasonable leverage, 2x


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules