Outlook for Oil Stocks Remains Bullish


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Looking at the chart of crude oil from today's point of view, it is clear that the first week of a new month and a new quarter was quite good for oil bulls. Although there was a drop below the August low and the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level, the buyers didn't give up and stopped further declines, which resulted in an increase to a weekly high of $104.38. In the previous week, light crude gained 0.87% and closed higher for a first time in four weeks. Earlier this week, oil bulls managed to stop sellers and defend the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level once again, which resulted in a pullback to over $104.

And what happened with the oil stocks at the same time? They closed lower for the first time in five weeks. Does this mean that they become weaker in relation to crude oil? What does the relationship between light crude and the oil stocks look like?

Before we try to answer these questions, let's take a look at the NYSE ARCA Oil Index (INDEXNYSEGIS:XOI) chart to find out what the current situation in the oil stock market is. Below is the monthly chart of light crude (charts courtesy of http://stockcharts.com ).

In our firm's previous essay on oil stocks, we wrote:

The XOI not only broke above the July top, but it also broke above the May 2011 high. If the buyers hold the oil index above 1,400 today, this will be the highest monthly close since June 2008.

Although oil bulls didn't manage to hold the XOI above 1,400, we saw the highest monthly close since April 2011. Additionally, the XOI is still above the previously broken long-term declining resistance line based on the 2008 and 2011 highs, and the breakout hasn't been invalidated. The oil index also remains in the range of the rising trend channel. Taking these observations into account, the situation is still bullish.

To see this more clearly, let's zoom in and move on to the weekly chart.

Quoting from our previous essay on oil stocks:

[T]he XOI is still close to the May top... we should carefully keep an eye on the oil index. The proximity of the above resistance level may encourage oil bears to go short and trigger a correction. In this case, the first support will be around 1,400.

In the previous week, we saw such price action and the XOI dropped to a weekly low at 1,394. However, this deterioration was only temporary, and the oil stock index closed the whole week above 1,400 once again.

In spite of this rebound, the situation has deteriorated since the beginning of this week. Oil stocks dropped below 1,400 and moved closer to the medium-term support line (marked in black), which is also the lower border of the rising wedge. However, the medium-term uptrend is not currently threatened.

Now we'll focus on the relationship between light crude and the oil stocks.

When look at the above charts and compare the price action in both cases, it seems that oil stocks were weaker because they closed lower for a first time in five weeks. (At the same time, light crude closed higher for a first time in four weeks.) However, when we take a closer look at the situation in both cases, we notice that this weakness in oil stocks was only superficial. Despite the recent declines, they still remain above the medium-term support line. Meanwhile, crude oil is still trading below its medium-term rising support/resistance line.

Now let's turn to the daily chart.

On the above chart, we see that the situation didn't change much in the previous week. However, yesterday we saw a sharp decline that pushed the XOI not only below 1,400 but also below the declining resistance/support line based on the May and July highs. Please note that despite this drop, the breakdown is not confirmed at the moment.

The nearest support is the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level based on the entire June-September rally (around 1,375). The second one is a support zone based on the August 27 and August 30 lows (1,361-1,364), and a further one based on the August 21 bottom and the 61.8% retracement level (1,338-1,339).

Now let's look at the relationship between the WTI and the XOI in the short term. In the previous week, we saw similar price action in light crude and the oil stocks. Last Monday, there were declines, however, in case of crude oil the downward move was stronger and took it to a new monthly low. Last Wednesday, we saw a sharp rebound in both cases and the rest of the week looked similar. Nevertheless, this week's price action is totally different in both cases. On Monday, light crude tested the strength of the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level once again and rebounded, which resulted in a pullback to the previously broken rising medium-term support/resistance line. At the same time, oil stocks dropped below important support levels. Does it mean that they are weaker in relation to crude oil? Not really. Please note that despite yesterday's sharp decline, oil stocks didn't even reach the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level based on the June-September rally. Meanwhile, crude oil tested this level several times.

Summing up , from the long-, medium- and short-term perspectives, the outlook for oil stocks remains bullish and the uptrend is not threatened at the moment. Taking into account the relationship between light crude and the oil stock index in the previous week and earlier this week, we can conclude that the oil stocks still remain stronger in relation to crude oil, even though they declined below 1,400 and the declining resistance/support line based on the May and July highs.

Those of you who plan to take long positions in the crude oil sector might want to consider choosing oil stocks instead of crude oil itself as it seems to have greater upside potential at this moment.

For the full version of this essay and more, visit Sunshine Profits' website .

Nadia is a private investor and trader, dealing in stocks, currencies, and commodities. Using her background in technical analysis, she spends countless hours identifying market trends, major support and resistance zones, breakouts, and failures. In her writing, she presents complex ideas with clarity that enables you to easily understand market changes and profit from them. You can read Nadia's analyses at SunshineProfits.com where she publishes her articles on gold and crude oil trading.

Twitter: @SunshineProfits

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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