Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oil Bubble about to Burst

Other than the huge rate cut, what else has been in the investment news every day lately? The answer is the increasing price of oil. Even as the stock market rallied through the end of the week, the price of oil kept rising, hitting a all-time actual dollar (non-inflation-adjusted) high, before losing a little ground in the little of the week.

There's a few things causing this high price; MidEast instability, hurricanes in the Atlantic, and some supply/demand issues in the United States. However, I feel as though oil (and oil stocks) are currently overpriced, and are set to correct as soon as the price of oil does.

Sure, predicting a peak is difficult, but I think that you don't have to be exactly right to profit off of this current oil bubble. As the chart below (of Exxon [XOM]) demonstrates, the stock's price is quite volitile and moves quickly and significantly as the price of oil changes.

Now here's a chart of the price of oil, over approximately the same period:

The correlation is obvious, and consistent. Also, on the chart of the price of oil, you can see how the current price run-up has increased volume, and therefore, speculation.

On Exxon's chart, you can see how as the price of oil declined earlier in the summer, the stock lost about 15% of its value in a rather quick period. That's exactly the decline that I foresee happening soon, and that I aim to profit from.

In the next week, I think the price of oil may stay steady; there's a few areas in the tropics that may turn into storms, which always cause jitters and cause the price of energy to rise. However, summer driving season is now over, and as gasoline prices rise to reflect the current price of oil, people will be further discouraged from driving, decreasing demand.

So, as I feel as though the price of oil is going to flatten and drop (it may already be happening now, as the price was down marginally on Friday the 21st), I'm going to try to initiate a short position in a big oil producer, or just buy some put options. There's lots of companies that I could see this working for: Exxon (XOM), Chevron (CVX), and ConocoPhillips (COP) are some names that come to mind. Also, iShares has an ETF made up of lots of oil companies with the symbol IXC - it may be an option to get into the general market without the risk associated with a specific company.

Overall, I think that the price of oil is going to continue to rise in the long term, until alternative energies become a reality. I'm currently long in Marathon Oil (MRO), because much of their business is refining, not production, and they are less effected by the daily price of oil.

After trying to profit from the short-term downturn, I plan to go long in oil, whether in the ETF (IXC) or an individual company. After correcting in the near term, black gold will shine in the future.


Student of the Stocks said...

Not to pat myself on the back, but I guess I saw a trend that professional analysts have now noted a day after I did. Here's an article about the overinflated price of oil:

However, there are three different areas in the tropics that might develop into storms soon (I love meteorology), so if that happens, oil may stay inflated for a little while longer. Otherwise, I think the time is soon...

Student of the Stocks said...

Disclosure: Author is long Chevron (CVX) Puts as of 9/25.

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