Slick on the street

28Mar06

Energy seems to be dominating the news these days and today is no exception. Leading off is the news, and maybe more important the reaction to the news, is the forthcoming launch of an oil ETF.

Both the Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch.com note the particulars of the soon-to-launch fund. It is interesting to note that the ETF that will be traded on the AMEX is technically a share of a commodity pool. Although energy trading has become more accessible recently with the launch of e-mini futures contracts this will be the first oil vehicle available on a stock exchange.

James Picerno at The Capital Spectator notes the irony that the oil ETF is going to begin trading after a major bull market in the energy markets. While acknowledging the power of the long-term case for higher oil prices, Picerno belives the short-term direction will be driven in part by the strength (or lack thereof) in the U.S. economy.

Roger Nusbaum notes the oil ETF will probably lead to a few more single commodity ETFs. Naked Shorts takes the SEC to task for the manner in which they approve these types of products. The oil ETF was not the only energy-related item that came to our attention.

Clifford Krauss in the New York Times notes the boom taking place in Western Canada in relation to the vast oil sands. Not only is it changing the politics and economics of those provinces, especially Alberta, but has also introduced a different dynamic into the Candian economy.

As more oil flows, economic power and population are shifting westward from the traditional manufacturing centers of Ontario and Quebec, which are lagging in comparison. The rising west is splitting the national economy, forcing industries back east to retool and reorient manufacturing to supply the growing oil economy.

While Canada deals with the consequences, both positive and negative, of the oil sands Howard Simons at TheStreet.com examines the potential consequences of a concerted push to transform foodstuffs into ethanol. It is clear that the promise of biofuels is offset by the challenges it would create for the agricultural economy.

Considering the fact that we are writing a great deal on energy we have added an additional category to reflect this. So please feel free to check out our previous posts on the topic.

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