It may seem like ancient market history already, but last Friday the S&P 500 energy sector surged by more than 10%. By Monday the unprecedented drop in oil futures had sent a barrel of crude into negative territory, which had people thinking they would be paid to fill up at the gas pump and left investors in one popular oil ETF in for their own personal energy shock.
All eyes remain on the wild action in crude, but it’s worth looking at how stocks have traded historically after sudden surges in energy portion of the S&P 500, even as its weight in the stock market falls significantly. The energy sector represented as much as 25% of the index in 1980 and still 15% a decade ago. Now energy is under 3% of the U. S. stock market.
The action in oil has continued to be tumultuous this week, down and back up 20% during single trading sessions. Oil was rising for a third day on Friday, and so was the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after the rout that saw futures turn negative for the first time ever. Some big energy names, like Exxon Mobil and Chevron, had strong days on Thursday even as the market ended flat. That’s contributed to gains in the exchange-traded fund that tracks the stocks in the S&P energy sector, the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE).
Will XLE, and the rest of the stock market, stay up?