In this case the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

The exchange-traded fund that tracks energy stocks, the Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) - Get Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund Report , is performing about as well as two of its top components, Chevron (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report , Exxon Mobil (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report . But since the dividend yield of the ETF is not nearly as good as these companies', you'd be better off buying the stocks.

Here are the specifics, according to the technical charts.

The energy ETF is in bear market territory for the year to date, underperforming the S&P 500 undefined  that, as of Wednesday's close, is down 0.6%. The ETF, by comparison, is down over 21%. For the fourth quarter the S&P is up 6.6% and the energy ETF up just 2%.

The three largest components -- Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Schlumberger (SLB) - Get Schlumberger NV Report  -- are performing in line with the ETF for the year to date, with mixed performances so far in the fourth quarter. Chevron and Exxon are members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average I:DJI , which is outperforming the energy giants so far in 2015. However, so far in the fourth quarter Chevron is outperforming the Dow.

As for the dividends, the ETF's is 2.92% while Chevron and Exxon Mobil have dividend yields of 4.90% and 3.80%, respectively.

The energy ETF consists of 40 stocks; the three biggest names represent 38.9% of the index weight.

Here's the scorecard for the energy ETF and its three largest components.

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Here's the weekly chart for crude oil futures.


Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

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The weekly chart for crude oil shows the Fibonacci retracement of the popped oil bubble. The all-time high of $147.27 per barrel was set in July 2008. It did not take long for the bubble to pop as the multiyear low of $33.20 was set in January 2009.

Note the importance of the 200-week simple moving average, which proved to be the reversion to the mean and a magnet between August 2009 and Sept. 2014 when the secondary plunge below this average began.

The rebound off the post-bubble low failed to hold the 61.8% retracement of $103.99 between Feb. 2011 and July 2014.

During the downward spiral the 50% retracement of $90.16 and the 38.2% retracement of $76.72 were ignored. Then when the 23.6% retracement of $60.11 caved in July, the downside risk became the 2009 low of $33.20.

This week's low of $36.64 held this week's key level on technical charts of $36.56. This downside risk was realized when a key level of $41.74 failed to hold on Dec. 4.

Here's the weekly chart for the energy ETF.


Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

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The energy ETF closed Wednesday at $62.41, up 2% so far in the fourth quarter but down 21.2% year to date. It is in bear market territory 38.5% below its multi-year high of $101.52 set on June 23, 2014. The ETF is 6.2% above the 2015 low of $58.74 set on Aug. 24.

The weekly chart is negative with the ETF below its key weekly moving average of $65.94 and well below its 200-week simple moving average of $79.13. The weekly momentum reading is projected to decline to 56.56 this week down from 62.63 on Dec. 4.

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The horizontal lines are the Fibonacci retracements of the rise from its 2009 low of $37.40 to its June 23, 2014 high. As shown on the chart the ETF has been attempting to stabilize around its 61.8% retracement of $61.73 since the week of Aug. 28. The upside is to the 50% retracement of $69.34.

Investors looking to buy XLE should place a good till canceled limit order to buy the ETF if it drops to $58.74, which is the Aug. 24 flash crash low. Investors looking to reduce holdings should place a good until canceled limit order to sell the ETF if it rises to $64.04 and $65.59, which are key levels on technical charts until the end of 2015 and the end of this week, respectively.

Here's the weekly chart for Chevron.


Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

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Chevron (13.74% weighting) closed Wednesday at $87.60, up 11.1% so far in the fourth quarter but down 21.9% year to date and in bear market territory 35.1% below its all-time high of $135.10 set on July 24, 2014. Chevron is 26% above the 2015 low of $69.58 set on Aug. 24.

The weekly chart is negative with the stock below its key weekly moving average of $88.76 and well below its 200-week simple moving average of $111.54. The weekly momentum reading is projected to decline to 66.29 this week down from 69.20 on Dec. 4.

The horizontal lines are the Fibonacci retracements of the rise from its 2008 low of $55.40 to its July 24, 2014 high. As shown on the chart, Chevron has been affected by its 61.8% retracement of $85.83 as a magnet since the week of Aug. 10. The upside is to the 50% retracement of $95.23, which failed during the week of Nov. 6.

Investors looking to buy Chevron should place a good till canceled limit order to buy the stock if it drops to $80, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of 2015. Investors looking to reduce holdings should place a good until canceled limit order to sell the ETF if it rises to $92.96, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of 2015.

Here's the weekly chart for Exxon Mobil.


Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

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Exxon Mobil (17.37% weighting) closed Wednesday at $75.63, up 1.7% so far in the fourth quarter but down 18.2% year to date and in bear market territory 27.6% below its all-time high of $104.52 set on July 28, 2014. Exxon is 13.6% above the 2015 low of $66.55 set on Aug. 24.

The weekly chart is negative with the stock below its key weekly moving average of $79.03 and well below its 200-week simple moving average of $89.58. The weekly momentum reading is projected to decline to 56.74 this week down from 63.30 on Dec. 4.

The horizontal lines are the Fibonacci retracements of the rise from its 2008 low of $56.43 to its July 28, 2014 high. As shown on the chart, Exxon has been affected by its 61.8% retracement of $74.88 as a magnet since the week of Aug. 23. The upside is to the 50% retracement of $80.58 and to its 38.2% retracement of $86.28, which failed during the week of Nov. 6.

Investors looking to buy Exxon should place a good till canceled limit order to buy the stock if it drops to $66.55, which is the flash crash low of Aug. 24. Investors looking to reduce holdings should place a good until canceled limit order to sell the ETF if it rises to $77.36 and $82.85, which are key levels on technical charts until the end of 2015 and the end of this week, respectively.

Here's the weekly chart for Schlumberger.


Courtesy of MetaStock Xenith

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Schlumberger (7.81% weighting) closed Wednesday at $72.12, up 4.6% so far in the fourth quarter but down 15.6% year to date and in bear market territory 39.3% below its all-time high of $118.76 set on July 1, 2014. Schlumberger is 8.3% above the 2015 low of $66.57 set on Aug. 24.

The weekly chart is negative with the stock below its key weekly moving average of $75.63 and well below its 200-week simple moving average of $83.65. The weekly momentum reading is projected to decline to 58.09 this week down from 61.44 on Dec. 4.

The horizontal lines are the Fibonacci retracements of the rise from its 2009 low of $34.68 to its July 1, 2014 high. As shown on the chart, Schlumberger held its 61.8% retracement of $66.79 at the flash crash low. The upside is to the 50% retracement of $76.70, which has been a magnet since the week of Aug. 29.

Investors looking to buy Schlumberger should place a good till canceled limit order to buy the stock if it drops to $66.04, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of 2015. Investors looking to reduce holdings should place a good until canceled limit order to sell the ETF if it rises to $79.49, which is a key level on technical charts until the end of 2015.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.