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Here’s how to trade Exxon on crude rally

Oil giant ExxonMobil is set to break to new highs thanks to the crude-oil bounce, one technically minded trader argues.

"It looks like Exxon is struggling with the $90 region here," Todd Gordon of TradingAnalysis.com said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." "The market is pulling back and it looks like we're set to toggle back to that $90 level. [But] if crude can go higher, I think Exxon is set to break that $90 region."


The key, according to Gordon, is in crude's rally. Looking at the USO, the crude oil ETF, Gordon pointed out that with two rapid upswings in succession, it looks as though oil is set to move back up after falling last week.

"The first [rally] topped out at about $11 in the ETF, we set back, then have begun the next rally," he said. "A technical target would be the distance traveled in the first round. The yellow line [in the above chart] highlights that, which is right around the $12 region [and] corresponds to a move back into the upper 40s for crude oil."


To take advantage of a potential uptrend, Gordon said he would buy Exxon's June 90-strike call, and sell the 95-strike calls, to create a bullish call spread. To do so, he is paying $1.44 per share.

If crude does rally and Exxon breaks through $95, Gordon is set to make a maximum of $3.53 per share. The payout is just over 2 to 1, making it a worthwhile trade in Gordon's eyes despite the potential for a drop in crude.

"If we don't start moving here very soon and if we start breaking below the $89 level, I'm going to move out of this trade to control risk," he said. "Otherwise, we should be fine in the upside in Exxon."

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Brian Sullivan is co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F,1PM-3PM ET), one of the network's longest running programs, as well as the host of the daily investing program "Trading Nation." He is also a frequent guest on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and other NBC properties.

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