Monthly Oil ETF Check

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Includes: DBO, USL, USO, WTI
by: Hard Assets Investor

By Brad Zigler

Record oil prices have riveted attention once again on the black stuff and on the best means to hedge against its relentless advance (or, for some, to jump on the speculative gravy train).

The crude oil market has slipped again into full-blown backwardation (for an explanation of backwardation, see ("The Battle Against Contango"), pointing to the pervasive tight-supply mentality held by traders.

It's been a month (see "Check Your Oil Lately") since we last took a dipstick to the market to gauge oil-based ETFs' and ETNs' market tracking.

Last month, The United States Oil Fund (AMEX: USO) took top honors in the return department, bettering the gains earned by its then-new cousin, the United States 12-Month Oil Fund (AMEX: USL).

USO tracks the price movements of West Texas Intermediate (NYSE:WTI) crude oil by using the nearby NYMEX futures contract, while USL's price movements are based upon an equally weighted average of the nearest 12 NYMEX delivery months.

Oil Check

USL and USO are pretty evenly matched now, though the lower beta of the older-style USO portfolio yields more alpha. The more interesting story, though, is the continuing underperformance of the PowerShares DB Oil ETF (AMEX: DBO).

Oil Portfolios Vs. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Spot

OIL

DBO

WTI

74.08%

53.84%

66.18%

.94

.79

--

.99

1.12

--

.09

-.20

--

2.56

1.79

2.14

And it's that we'll look at next ...