ETF to Dump No. 5: United States Oil Fund (USO)
Despite what its name implies, this fund does not track the price of crude oil. United States Oil Fund (USO) is 100% invested in "front month" oil futures and must therefore roll over 100% of its assets each and every month. With oil markets currently in contango (i.e., prices are higher as you go out in time), USO loses money every time it rolls the portfolio.
Unfortunately, no other exchange-traded products can accurately track crude oil prices, either.One alternative to consider is the United States 12-Month Oil Fund (USL). This fund keeps one-twelfth of its portfolio in each of the next twelve months of crude oil futures. USL is still affected by the negative roll yield, but only 8.3 percent of the portfolio gets hit each month, not 100 percent as in USO.