How can $1.8 Billion be so wrong on USO, the crude oil ETF

Following our last post in which we mentioned how commodities were down in 2010 based on energy being flat and the problem of cost of carry/contango – we had a client asking us to update our chart on the spot price of Crude Oil versus the performance of USO, the ETF which is supposed to track Crude Oil prices, and thought you might like to see it as well (read it and weep below)

Have any of the investors who have poured $1.8 Billion into this ETF seen this chart? Have the managers of USO? How is this acceptable for a product which is supposed to appreciate as Crude Oil does? If you can answer any of these, you are smarter than us, as we have no good answers.  Perhaps people just want to say they are invested in Oil, instead of actually being invested in oil.

Now, there is the cost of carry to consider, which makes the spot price appreciation unattainable – but even that doesn’t account for the vast difference between the spot price performance and the USO.  When considering the cost of carry by deducting a $1 per barrel monthly cost, the spot price has still outpaced the USO by a margin of  46% to 3%.

If any of the USO managers are out there and reading this, why don’t you switch to buying the December Crude Oil futures every year, and roll those annually. You can see in the chart below that this tracks much, much better with the cost of carry adjusted spot price of Oil.  Better yet – if any USO investors are reading this, call Attain and we’ll set up your own personal ETF which does just this, rolling every December.

2 comments

  1. […] of ‘dumb money’ trying to track Crude Oil prices with the infamously inaccurate Crude ETF USO (see our blog post on the problems with USO), nothing quite surprises us […]

  2. […] here are a chart from Attain Capital that compares the change in USO share price (purple) as compared to the spot price of crude oil […]

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Disclaimer
The performance data displayed herein is compiled from various sources, including BarclayHedge, and reports directly from the advisors. These performance figures should not be relied on independent of the individual advisor's disclosure document, which has important information regarding the method of calculation used, whether or not the performance includes proprietary results, and other important footnotes on the advisor's track record.

Benchmark index performance is for the constituents of that index only, and does not represent the entire universe of possible investments within that asset class. And further, that there can be limitations and biases to indices such as survivorship, self reporting, and instant history.

Managed futures accounts can subject to substantial charges for management and advisory fees. The numbers within this website include all such fees, but it may be necessary for those accounts that are subject to these charges to make substantial trading profits in the future to avoid depletion or exhaustion of their assets.

Investors interested in investing with a managed futures program (excepting those programs which are offered exclusively to qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7) will be required to receive and sign off on a disclosure document in compliance with certain CFT rules The disclosure documents contains a complete description of the principal risk factors and each fee to be charged to your account by the CTA, as well as the composite performance of accounts under the CTA's management over at least the most recent five years. Investor interested in investing in any of the programs on this website are urged to carefully read these disclosure documents, including, but not limited to the performance information, before investing in any such programs.

Those investors who are qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7 and interested in investing in a program exempt from having to provide a disclosure document and considered by the regulations to be sophisticated enough to understand the risks and be able to interpret the accuracy and completeness of any performance information on their own.

RCM receives a portion of the commodity brokerage commissions you pay in connection with your futures trading and/or a portion of the interest income (if any) earned on an account's assets. The listed manager may also pay RCM a portion of the fees they receive from accounts introduced to them by RCM.

See the full terms of use and risk disclaimer here.

Disclaimer
The performance data displayed herein is compiled from various sources, including BarclayHedge, and reports directly from the advisors. These performance figures should not be relied on independent of the individual advisor's disclosure document, which has important information regarding the method of calculation used, whether or not the performance includes proprietary results, and other important footnotes on the advisor's track record.

Benchmark index performance is for the constituents of that index only, and does not represent the entire universe of possible investments within that asset class. And further, that there can be limitations and biases to indices such as survivorship, self reporting, and instant history.

Managed futures accounts can subject to substantial charges for management and advisory fees. The numbers within this website include all such fees, but it may be necessary for those accounts that are subject to these charges to make substantial trading profits in the future to avoid depletion or exhaustion of their assets.

Investors interested in investing with a managed futures program (excepting those programs which are offered exclusively to qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7) will be required to receive and sign off on a disclosure document in compliance with certain CFT rules The disclosure documents contains a complete description of the principal risk factors and each fee to be charged to your account by the CTA, as well as the composite performance of accounts under the CTA's management over at least the most recent five years. Investor interested in investing in any of the programs on this website are urged to carefully read these disclosure documents, including, but not limited to the performance information, before investing in any such programs.

Those investors who are qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7 and interested in investing in a program exempt from having to provide a disclosure document and considered by the regulations to be sophisticated enough to understand the risks and be able to interpret the accuracy and completeness of any performance information on their own.

RCM receives a portion of the commodity brokerage commissions you pay in connection with your futures trading and/or a portion of the interest income (if any) earned on an account's assets. The listed manager may also pay RCM a portion of the fees they receive from accounts introduced to them by RCM.

See the full terms of use and risk disclaimer here.