Nymex Crude oil is in bear market territory, 21.3% below its post-election high of $55.24 set on the first day of 2017. Beginning the year with a "key reversal" day set the stage for downside risk in the energy sector. This key reversal occurred as oil set its post-election high, then closed below the Dec. 30 low of $53.41. Oil thus began 2017 with downside risk to my semiannual value level of $43.04, and Tuesday's low of $42.94 tested this important value level, where short positions could be reduced.
The Energy Sector SPDR exchange-traded fund (XLE) - Get Report set its post-election high of $78.45 on Dec. 12 along with its top two components Chevron (CVX) - Get Report and Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Report with their post-election highs of $118.99 and $93.21, respectively, set on Dec. 12 and Dec. 13.
Weakness in the energy sector prompted investors to seek the safety of dividends, and a popular choice became the Utilities Sector SPDR ETF (XLU) - Get Report , which has been above a "golden cross" since March 14. A golden cross occurs when the 50-day simple moving average rises above the 200-day simple moving average, indicating that higher prices lie ahead. The utilities ETF set its post-election high of $54.63 on June 2, which was a test of my semiannual risky level of $54.29, where investors were advised to reduce holdings.
When the utilities were setting their high, Chevron and Exxon Mobil were setting post-election lows of $102.55 and $79.26, respectively, on June 7 and June 2. Chevron was testing its weekly value level at that time, while Exxon Mobil was testing its monthly value level for June of $79.55.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.