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U-Turn in Oil Prices Post-Election: What Investors Should Know

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Nov. 9 2016, Updated 4:37 p.m. ET

US crude oil

At 1:09 PM EST on November 9, 2016, US crude oil (USO) (OIIL) (UWTI) (DWTI) active futures were trading at $45.69 per barrel, 1.6% above the previous day’s closing price.

On the same day, US crude oil prices fell to an intraday low of $43.07 per barrel, ~4.2% lower than the previous day’s closing price.

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Understanding the rise and the fall

Falls in crude oil prices, equities, and currencies came in early during Asian trading when Donald Trump’s lead over Hillary Clinton was widening. At the same time, gold was rising.

Gold active futures have made an intraday high of $1,338.30 per ounce, on November 9, ~5% higher than the previous day’s closing price. The rise in gold prices corresponds with investors’ fears. As a growth-driven asset, crude oil tends to underperform safe haven assets such as gold during market uncertainties.

The recovery in oil prices comes with the rise in the equity market. The S&P 500 Index (SPY) (QQQ) (IVV) (VFINX) had risen 0.89% as of 2:02 PM EST. US crude oil inventories rose by 2.4 million barrels in the week ended November 4, 2016.

On November 8, the American Petroleum Institute (or API) reported a rise of 4.4 MMbbls (million barrels) in crude oil inventories for the week ended November 4. The smaller-than-expected rise in crude oil inventories also helped oil prices to recover.

Impact on energy ETFs

The above analysis could be important for ETFs such as the United States Brent Oil ETF (BNO), the PowerShares DWA Energy Momentum ETF (PXI), the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE), the Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight Energy ETF (RYE), and the ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF (SCO).

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