This Stock Market Rotation Has Some Energy Behind It

Today’s update involves a major industrial sector that has been underperforming for a long time: Energy. For over 9 years, the Energy sector has underperformed the broad market. Don’t believe us? Take a look.


Energy v S&P 500 Ratio Chart


Above is a weekly chart of Energy (XLE) versus the S&P 500 (SPY). Simply put, when the ratio rises, XLE is outperforming. When the ratio falls, SPY is outperforming. Since mid-2008, Energy has been nothing but a hot mess. From June 2008 through today, if you were involved in Energy, you lost 7% of your capital while the broad market represented by the S&P 500 appreciated 114%. Talk about opportunity cost.

Within this 9-year period, however, there have been countertrend moves worth participating in. For example, Energy outperformed the S&P 500 +29% versus +12% in calendar year 2016. Not too shabby. But as the chart above highlights, the bigger trend is down. So what we’re shedding light on here today is NOT an opportunity with the winds of a larger trend at its back. What is notable, however, is the recent breakout of Energy on an absolute and relative basis.


Energy Daily price chart


We can clearly see buyers have changed the trajectory of price with XLE breaking out on an absolute basis and on a relative basis versus the S&P 500. This development is in conjunction with a divergence between price and momentum and buyers stepping in a logical support level near $63. In addition, price has recorded a higher low and higher high on this time frame. That’s the very definition of a trend change. As long as XLE can hold and sustain above $66.17, this countertrend move in energy will have legs. With an upside target near $70, this set-up has a friendly reward-to-risk ratio of almost 8-to-1.

To conclude, while we’re not in the business of picking a bottom in Energy, it’s quite possible this recent move is something worth participating in. The game plan is simple. Above $66, own XLE. Below that, it can be someone else’s problem. Trade at your own risk.

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