Sunday, October 28, 2007

Oil Price: A Real Gusher

I'm actually taking a class on the history of oil right now; it's quite interesting.

But anyway, to the point:

In overnight electronic trading, oil is now putting up new record highs. As of the most recent quite while I'm writing this, it's over $93/barrel, up over $1 from its previous high.

(In the short term, this could be good for me... I currently own some ConocoPhillips calls, and on most otherwise-newsless days, the price of oil stocks will track the price of oil).

However, as I published earlier, I that there is no merit to these inflated prices. Just this weekend, Barrons published their own articles about how the price of oil is looking quite high. There are some tensions in the Middle East right now, but there's really no tangible reason for oil to be setting new daily highs.

One of the dumbest price-triggers of the previous week's run-up was the midweek inventory report that propped up the price 3%.

During the previous weeks, the reports had been bearish, as inventories grew. The bulls that spin the media wrote off the reports as unimportant, when considering the big picture.

Then, the first report that shows a decline in inventory sends the price skyrocking. It's really illogical and dumb.

That's why I'm trying to milk this bubble for all it is worth. I owned some Conoco puts going into earnings, and about $5 of negative price movement nearly tripled my options. As the stock appeared to be bottoming out (I did a good job predicting the bottom, within about $1) I switched to some calls, as the price of oil is now trending upwards.

So, as I said when oil was $10 cheaper, there's really no fundimental reason for oil to be this expensive. If you're an experienced trader/investor, maybe think about playing the swings, like I am. If you're a long term-oriented investor, I'd suggest getting into one of the oil companies with lower P/Es - like Conoco - or just sitting on the sidelines for a while. I truly believe that oil is quite overvalued, but there's no telling if, or when, people will come to their senses.

Barrons recommended avoiding Petrochina; It's P/E is in the 20s, versus about 8-11 for the big American companies. It's tempting to get into a hot, well-performing Chinese stock, but I'd recommend staying on the sidelines, too.

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