Does it matter that nobody seems to own the oils or even want the oils, even as crude is ticking at $64, the highest in ages? Is this the time where you can say "you know what, everyone finally hates them so much, they can at last go up?"
I know I have felt that way. I thought mid-last-year that oil had a chance of going to $80. Sure, there were trade frictions but the U.S. economy was doing well enough that you had to believe oil could percolate higher.
But we know the month of September brought a slowdown in a host of categories, real estate, construction loans, housing, retail and then the next thing you know Jay Powell raised rates into a slowing economy, because his data was bad and he hadn't called around enough to break free from whomever was feeding him inaccurate data about the real state of the economy.
Now, though, after Powell realized the error of his ways and switched, we are seeing real buoyancy in oil, enough that you have to wonder whether this is the time when everyone is really out of it and you have a shot to make some money.
I felt it last night. First I got a call from someone who wanted to know if he should sell or hold on to Kinder Morgan (KMI) . That's often a tell right there: sell or hold. You never get a top when people want to sell or hold. You get a top when you hear people want to double down. But the pipelines have been such nasty stocks to own, with no real upside -- even as they are making fortunes --because they don't have growth. And the amount of money lost by brokers and advisers telling wealthier people to stay the course with the high yielding pipelines has been legion. When they were going down as rates went higher, that was one thing. But then they didn't stop going down when rates went down, either. Heads the bears win, tails the bears win.
But Rich Kinder has bought tens of millions of dollars' worth of stock, so I simply said hold onto it. I just didn't want anyone else in the house of pain in the pipes.
I also got a call about Helmerich & Payne (HP) , the contract driller with a 4.8% yield. HP is a fabulous company, incredibly and conservatively well run. I wanted to say sure, just buy some, because you usually don't get that high a yield with a good company like that.
But then again, the Action Alerts Plus charitable trust is down so much on Schlumberger (SLB) -- and it has a 4.33% yield and no one has been biting. So I had to say take a pass on HP, it isn't worth it.
Tuesday morning, when I looked over the portfolio, there, again, was Anadarko Petroleum (APC) , the company that missed the quarter in a market where you are forgiven for missing a quarter if you are in anything but oil.
The only winner in the entire patch that we have is BP (BP) -- and that's because it yields more than 5%.
I am giving you all of this self-flagellation for one reason: When you have that defeatist mindset, when you have watched these stocks go nowhere despite a huge run in crude, perhaps that's when you have to take the other side of the trade.
I know I don't have the heart to do so. I hold them only because I couldn't bear if they went up without me.
But that, too, is the kind of thing you hear at the bottom.
In the end sentiment isn't enough. There has to be more to it. Oil will have to get to some level that it stirs real interest. It isn't this level yet. Maybe we don't get it until every last person capitulates.