NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- News that Greece had at last managed to secure its much-needed bailout funds is encouraging.
Unfortunately, investors, analysts, and market commentators will have no time to enjoy this development with sights already turning to the next big hurdle threatening the global macroeconomic picture: rising crude prices.
It is not uncommon to see oil prices increase as economic conditions improve and growth expectations rise. However in recent weeks, the ascension appears to have gathered steam as tensions continue to mount between Iran and the West, and China boosts lending to spur growth.
Heading into the start of the shortened trading week, prices managed to power to a nine-month high, punching through the closely-watched $100 level.With consumers forced to pay more at the pump, less spending power can be used to spur and maintain our already-fragile market recovery. With wallets and confidence under pressure, consumers will likely turn to Washington for answers. It is not uncommon for lawmakers to intervene when energy prices begin to upend economic momentum. For instance, as riots in Libya sent crude prices surging last summer, President Obama announced that the nation would tap into its oil reserves in order to ease shortages and quell the price increase. Revisiting such a plan today would likely be effective. In the end, however, it will likely only be a short-term fix. After seeing the detrimental impact geopolitical instabilities can have on an economy's recovery, politicians may find themselves considering more closely a plan to boost oil and energy production here at home. For investors, such an epiphany could prove profitable. Many leading energy ETFs are topped by domestic and international integrated energy titans like Exxon Mobil (XOM) and France's Total (TOT). However, there are also a number of options investors can turn to into order to gain exposure to a wide range of producers based heavily or exclusively in North America. These companies will likely be the ones to see the biggest benefit in the event that politicians on both sides of the aisle warm up to homegrown energy.
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