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Stock Market Today: Crude Oil Rockets; Now What?

Bret Kenwell

Oil prices are exploding higher on the day, with crude oil up 13% from its close on Friday. That obviously made big headlines in the stock market today, but it’s not propelling energy stocks higher in the manner that many had expected.

Stock Market Today

By now, many of you have likely read about the background story. For those that haven’t, this is the short-but-sweet scoop. A drone strike rattled Saudi Arabia over the weekend, forcing the country to cut its oil production in half.

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The move is equivalent to about 5 million barrels per day, or roughly 5% of the world’s daily production.

Here’s where things get tricky though. Reports say that the production cut is mostly a precautionary measure and that most of that output should be back online within 48 hours.

At first, many believed the attack was carried about Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Now it is alleged that Iran is behind the attack, which would significantly ratchet up tensions in the Middle East and potentially implicate a response from other nations outside of it (including the United States).

Oil’s Big Implications

Now you know the backstory on why oil prices are surging. But the implications are incredibly far reaching.

First, where can oil prices go? Let’s keep one thing in mind: Oil prices are back to where they were in June. We’re still notably away from the April highs and down significantly year-over-year. So while some may suggest that there’s enough supply in the market to keep a lid on oil prices, the charts suggest there could easily be more upside.

Impacting supply is a few different factors. The first, can Saudi Arabia actually get a majority of production back online in as little as two days, or is it a save-face move ahead of the eventual Saudi Aramco IPO? Second, will the U.S. and other oil-rich nations make up the difference? While 5 million barrels per day is admittedly a lot of oil, between the rest of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the U.S., it seems like most of this deficit could be covered.

Will President Donald Trump help eradicate a shortage in supply? He seems eager to, tweeting about tapping into the country’s strategic oil reserves and fast-tracking pipeline permits. Lastly, will conflicts be ongoing and will tensions remain high in the Middle East? If the answer is yes, then not only are future supply disruptions possible, but energy investors will price in a risk premium to the oil market.

Should we see a big spike in oil prices that sustains for months on end, that may have negative implications going into the fourth quarter and holiday seasons. The last thing consumers need — both here in the U.S. and globally — is a substantial rise in gas prices that persists into 2020.

Finally, a bulk of Saudi Arabia’s production goes to Asia. What implications could that have on China’s economy, which is already feeling pressure from the trade war?

Energy Stocks Make Big Moves

So far, the spike in oil has had a hit-and-miss impact on the energy sector. The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLE) climbed “just” 3.4% on the day. However, the VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEARCA:OIH) jumped 8.6% in the stock market today.

Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), which makes up 23% of the XLE, climbed a lackluster 1.5% on the day. Chevron (NYSE:CVX) makes up 22% of the ETF and jumped just over 2%. It’s becoming clear why the XLE showed such little life on the day now.

Others were more pronounced, though. Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) jumped 5.3%, while Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) climbed almost 11% on the day. These are the top two holdings in the OIH, by the way.

Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY), BP (NYSE:BP) and Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) climbed 6%, 3.9% and 6.5%, respectively.

Let’s see if we can get more follow through in energy stocks this week, and what oil prices do over the next few days and weeks.


Movers in the Stock Market Today

It wasn’t just energy stocks posting big moves on the day. General Motors (NYSE:GM) fell more than 4% after the United Automobile Workers, comprising 50,000 members, went on a nation-wide strike. It impacts 33 production plants and 22 warehouse facilities. JPMorgan analyst Adam Jonas said it will cost GM 3 cents in earnings per share per day, but that proper inventory management and pricing changes can help offset those losses. He likes GM as a buy-the-dip candidate.

Despite winning the streaming rights for the renowned hit “Seinfeld,” Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares were flat on the day. While some may question who wants to watch such an old show, just remember that “Friends” is one of Netflix’s top shows. It will lose “Friends” in 2020, along with its other top performer, “The Office”). Unfortunately though, the five-year “Seinfeld” deal won’t start until 2021.

Shares of MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) were up 2.1% after reports surfaced that Blackstone (NYSE:BX) is in talks to buy the Bellagio and MGM Grand. However, those discussion appear to be ongoing, as no deal has been reached yet (or may be reached at all, for that matter).

Bret Kenwell is the manager and author of Future Blue Chips and is on Twitter @BretKenwell. As of this writing, Bret Kenwell did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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