Crude has been on a volatile streak in recent days, and fell nearly 9 percent Wednesday amid reports of a multi-decade high in U.S. oil supplies. Just the day before, oil had experienced a huge rally, leading some traders and analysts to think that the bear market was fizzling. And on Thursday, the domestic oil market rallied again, crossing the psychologically significant $50 mark. Brent crude, the global benchmark, closed at near $57.
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Oil traders and analysts have differed on where crude is likely to go this year, with some saying price could fall substantially further as the global markets face considerable oversupply in the first half of the year. The London-based Merchant Commodity Fund co-founder Doug King, for instance, told CNBC recently that oil prices could pierce the $30 floor and trade into the high $20s before recovering. Even so, exchange-traded funds that track the West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude markets have seen money pile in so far this year, suggesting that smaller investors are betting on a nascent recovery.
Oil-related stocks, like drillers and oilfield equipment companies, have suffered huge declines since last summer. But, like current market commodity prices, those stocks could be close to their nadir, Hall wrote in his investor letter. "Oil-related equities have been trying to find a bottom," he stated. "It's not clear whether they have found it yet, but we think it's probably close…. Well-positioned shale oil operators and other domestic producers could prove to be attractive investments."