The S&P energy sector (NYSEARCA:XLE) rose 2% this week even as U.S. benchmark crude oil posted its first weekly loss since Russia invaded Ukraine, capping a week of volatile trading that isn’t likely to let up soon.
WTI front-month crude (CL1:COM) closed Friday +3.1% but ended with a 5.5% weekly decline at $109.33/bbl, as the historic rally to 14-year-highs near $124 ran out of steam, at least for now.
Natural gas futures (NG1:COM) finished +2% on Friday but fell 5.8% for the week at $4.725/MMBtu, as uncertainty over Russia and Ukraine gave way to forecasts for warmer weather in the U.S.
Oil prices certainly could regain their upward march depending on developments between Russia and Ukraine, but investors have displayed less worry in recent days about global crude shortages, especially as Russia continues to produce crude and find new customers in India, China and elsewhere after the U.S. banned all Russian crude imports.
The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday called on OPEC+ to raise production faster, although its energy minister appeared to later backtrack a bit.
On Friday, talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal faced possible collapse after a last-minute Russian demand forced a pause in negotiations.
Among oil and gas equities, oilfield service providers comprised three of the five best performers on the S&P 500 this week, with Baker Hughes (NASDAQ:BKR) +13.3%, Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) +10.2% and Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) +9.6%.