Yet some fund managers that sold out of their energy positions think the worst is over.
Robert Bacarella, lead portfolio manager of the $54 million Monetta fund, completely got out of energy stocks over the first six months of last year after becoming concerned with their chart-based trading patterns.
Lately, he's been eyeing such large-cap companies as oilfield servicer Baker Hughes, whose shares are up 3 percent over the last 3 months, and oil producer EOG Resources, whose shares are up 2 percent over the same time. Shares of these companies seem to be forming a floor, a term in technical analysis which suggests that the stocks are back on an upward trend.
"We're starting to see these stocks getting oversold as the market takes out the good with the bad," Bacarella said.
William Nygren, lead portfolio manager of the $17.3 billion Oakmark I fund, said on CNBC Wednesday that he recently added a position in Chesapeake Energy. The company has a strong balance sheet and is buying back shares, which should help its share price rebound if oil goes back toward $70 a barrel, Nygren said.
His fund had cut its energy exposure by 23 percent in 2014, according to Morningstar data.
Peter Andersen, lead portfolio manager of the $16 million Congress All-Cap Opportunity fund, said that he is waiting for the yields of junk bonds issued by energy companies to tighten compared with Treasury bonds before buying again.
In late December, yields of high-yield bonds jumped to 7.7 percentage points higher than Treasuries, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch data. At the end of August, high-yield bonds offered yields just 3.7 percentage points more than Treasuries.
"We followed the signs that the bond market was flashing when we sold, and we're going to wait for the bond market to signal that we're close to a bottom before moving back in," he said.