Market Overview

These Energy ETFs Are Breaking Out

These Energy ETFs Are Breaking Out

It has been said the S&P 500's ascent to what feels like a string of never ending new highs has been a rally short on risk-taking and long on low beta fare.

At the sector level, and it is sectors that lead equity markets not vice versa, there are signs risk is coming back into style.

Energy is one of the higher beta sectors that has been showing signs of promise. In the past month, the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLE), the largest energy ETF by assets, has surged 10.3 percent and is showing signs of a major technical breakout.

Chris Kimble of Kimble Charting Solutions notes XLE just cleared horizontal resistance and now resides about 10 percent from its 2008 highs. Interestingly, Tuesday's for NYMEX-traded oil was just under $96 per barrel. In other words, oil futures are nowhere close to being just 10 percent below the 2008 highs.

XLE is not the only equity-based energy ETF that has broken out is or on the cusp of doing so. Here are a few more ETF ideas for an ongoing energy sector rally.

PowerShares Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production Portfolio (NYSE: PXE)
By the standards of many energy ETFs such as XLE, PXE is small with just about $111 million in assets under management. A few months ago, we warned that was the wrong way of looking at things.

PXE is proving that assessment accurate as the ETF has jumped over 12 percent in the past month. This is not a cap-weighted ETF, so investors do not need to worry about excessive weightings to the energy sector's usual suspects such as Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX). PXE's top four holdings – Southwestern Energy (NYSE: SWN), Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and Murphy Oil (NYSE: MUR) – sport weights ranging from five to 5.7 percent of the ETF's weight.

In terms of breakouts, PXE recently cleared horizontal resistance at $32 and the next up leg will come when the ETF cracks $34.

First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index Fund (NYSE: FCG)
Rebounding natural gas futures have been a boon for for FCG in recent weeks as the ETF's 12 percent gain in the past month has helped it clear a downtrend line that dates back to last September. FCG, which has $455.5 million in assets under management, now has a clear runway to attack its 52-week high around $18.70.

While FCG does offer ample exposure to oilier stocks such as Apache (NYSE: APA) and Anadarko (NYSE: APC), many of the fund's 26 other holdings still produce more natural gas than oil. That translates to FCG having a noticeable correlation to natural gas futures. That is good when natural gas prices are rising as they have been recently, but presents a risk to investors if gas prices tumble.

Market Vectors Unconventional Oil & Gas ETF (NYSE: FRAK)
With just $15.8 million in assets, FRAK is by far the smallest ETF mentioned here, but the ETF's diminutive status belies its solid performance. Helped in part by its 8.5 percent weight to Occidental, FRAK has gained just over 11 percent in the past month.

That has enabled the ETF to clear horizontal resistance at $26 and FRAK is now working on clearing the $26.50, which is roughly the area at which the ETF was priced at when it came to market in February 2012. Occidental, Anadarko and EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG) combine for about 23 percent of FRAK's weight.

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