Oil prices skyrocketed over 24% on Thursday, as black gold clinched its largest single-session percentage gain ever. The surge buoyed oil stocks and other energy-related industries, with many rising over 10%. Today we’re looking at three of the easiest ways to profit from the potential follow through.
Optimistic comments from President Donald Trump during a CNBC interview sparked the rally after he said he expected Russia and Saudi Arabia to slash oil production by 10 million to 15 million barrels. He followed up with a tweet saying that the cut would be “GREAT for the oil & gas industry.”
Underwater longs across the energy sector are hoping the President’s optimism wasn’t hyperbole. Energy stocks have been decimated this year and are in desperate need of some good news. Oil prices finally finding a bottom certainly qualifies.
Here are three ways to profit from continued strength in crude.
Oil Stocks to Buy: Exxon Mobil (XOM)
Rather than dumpster diving in small caps or the bevy of lower-quality companies that may be headed toward the graveyard, why not focus on the biggest player in the space — Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM). While the potential upside may not be as explosive as the little guys, the accompanying risk is less.
But there’s still plenty of it. For all its size, XOM stock hasn’t been spared during the meltdown. Even with the pop, Exxon is still down over 40% year-to-date. Along the way, its dividend yield has ballooned to over 9%. Thursday’s rally lifted Exxon shares above their 20-day moving average for the first time since Jan. 7. A short-term horizontal resistance level was also breached.
If you’re willing to bank on a bottom forming, selling puts offers an attractive payday.
The Trade: Sell the May $35 puts for $2.
Energy Sector (XLE)
Buying the entire energy sector provides another, more diversified path to gaming the oil rebound. The Energy Sector (NYSEARCA:XLE) is the most liquid product available for exposure to a broad swath of large-cap oil stocks. Thursday’s jump saw 73 million shares traded, marking the highest volume in years. The participation underscores just how powerful the response to the oil price surge was.
While short puts could work with XLE, here’s a more aggressive play if you want more upside in the coming months.
The Trade: Buy the July $30/$40 bull call spread for around $3.30.
U.S. Oil Fund (USO)
Our final idea offers a direct bet on crude oil via Wall Street’s most popular oil ETF — the U.S. Oil Fund (NYSEARCA:USO). Because the fund owns oil futures contracts, it mimics the behavior of oil in the short run. It’s worth noting its long-term performance does deviate from the path of spot crude prices due to the ongoing costs of maintaining a futures position.
USO reached an all-time low this week of $4.03 before snapping back on Thursday. If the oil ramp goes the distance, this fund will continue its comeback. The low cost makes spreads unnecessary. I suggest buying shares outright or selling puts if you want a higher probability of profit.
The Trade: Sell the May $5 puts for around 70 cents.
As of this writing, Tyler Craig didn’t hold positions in any of the aforementioned securities. For a free trial to the best trading community on the planet and Tyler’s current home, click here!