Trader shorts oil ETF ahead of eagerly awaited OPEC meeting

Wednesday's OPEC meeting isn't the only thing investors need to worry about, as the oil charts could be hinting that the oil run may be done.

With oil plunging about 4 percent on Tuesday on news that OPEC talks were in a deadlock, Todd Gordon of says that oil-tracking ETF USO's sideways "consolidation" and a rising U.S. dollar do not bode well for the commodity. Since oil is priced in dollars, a stronger U.S. currency typically means that it takes fewer dollars to buy the same amount of crude.

This leads Gordon to bet against the USO ETF by buying the January 10-strike put and selling the January 9-strike put for $0.37 per share, or $37 per options spread.

This is the most he could lose on the trade. If the USO closes below $9 upon January expiration, this options spread will be worth $104, for a profit of $67.

"This is a little bit of a gamble here, but we have a positive reward-to-risk ratio," Gordon said Tuesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." "I like the setup, so I'm going to take it through the OPEC meeting."

Oil bulls are hoping that OPEC announces a production cut to tamp down on the global oil glut, but as of Tuesday, that prospect is looking less likely.

Crude itself has risen more than 20 percent so far this year, but the USO is down more than 8 percent. The ETF is generally best utilized for short-term trades and avoided for longer-term bets, due to the way the product's price interacts with oil prices.


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Sara Eisen joined CNBC in December 2013 as a correspondent, focusing on the global consumer. She is co-anchor of the 10AM ET hour of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET), broadcast from Post 9 at the New York Stock Exchange.

In March 2018, Eisen was named co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), which broadcasts from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

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