The Oil Money Play

The stock market freak-out hit a crescendo on Monday, with the Dow plunging nearly 1,600 points at it lows – marking the biggest intraday point drop in history.

The Dow fell 1,175.21 points or 4.6%…

The S&P 500 lost 113.17 points or 4.10%…

And the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.78% to 6,967.53…

However, even with Wall Street stocks posting record losses over the past few days, oil prices have not suffered to the same extent.

WTI (the New York-set benchmark for crude oil futures) was down 2.5% over the same sessions, while Brent (the other and more widely used global dollar-denominated benchmark set in London) shed 3%.

Of course, two days does not a trend make.

But the relatively “less bad” performance by oil gives us some pause.

Unlike earlier bouts of investor angst, this time around, the swoon in oil wasn’t about a decline in the broader markets.

Rather, it appears to have been the other way around.

Pundits have been prophesizing of a correction of up to 10% in high-flying equities for some time.

For their part, crude prices have had a strong recent run.

Both WTI and Brent reached four-year highs on January 26.

So, a combination of profit taking and backtracking was expected.

However, the way oil has responded over much of the last two months has indicated something else may be afoot.

And my experience last week seems to confirm it.

Energy Tremors

Last week, I was in the Caribbean addressing economic meetings in Nassau and the Cayman Islands, while also taking the pulse of a regional energy investment.

In both locations, the way private investment has been restructured to address the “new reality” of the energy sector reflected a trajectory I have witnessed elsewhere.

The tremors I felt in other places like London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Abu Dhabi has reached offshore capital locations.

Put simply, there is an undercurrent forming in the energy sector that has begun to disconnect from what happens in the more general markets.

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