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Oil Spasms Send Foundering ETF Into Series of Unusual Steps

  • USO changes the futures it purchases, suspends share creations
  • Security has lost almost a third of its value over two days
Oil Spirals Below Zero In 'Devastating Day' For Global Industry
Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg
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For investors getting crushed by oil’s relentless drop, contortions in the exchange-traded fund they swarmed into are adding mind-numbing complexity to an already anxious situation.

The United States Oil Fund has taken a series of unusual actions as the impact of crude’s swoon was exacerbated by wrinkles in the structure of the markets where it operates. The security, which lost a third of its value in two days, had to suspend the issuance of new shares, an action that could leave it untethered from prices it’s supposed to track.