It's tempting to get into the oil market now that the Trump administration has promised to make domestic energy production a priority. The Brent spot price reflects this enthusiasm – it pushed above $60 at the end of October and appears to be stabilizing at that level in the futures market as well. (See also: 6 Things Investors Can Do With Cash Under Trump.)

However, getting into oil isn't exactly easy. The most direct route is with oil futures, which are extremely volatile and usually require an initial investment that excludes all but the most serious investors. (See also: Oil Investors Await 2017 Investment Plans.)

As an alternative, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a great way to get a piece of the oil market. You can choose funds that track the performance of oil prices using futures contracts or funds tied to a basket of oil company equities. You can also take a short position on oil prices if you project a bearish trend. All offer exposure to the oil market, but each has a different level of risk – and a different place in a diversified portfolio. (See also: New Leveraged Oil ETFs Coming Soon.)

Year to date through November 1, a variety of strategies have been doing well. The four ETFs below are top performers. These four ETFs were chosen based on a combination of performance, trading volume and assets under management. All figures are as of November 1, 2017. (See also: How Can I Buy Oil as an Investment?)

VanEck Vectors Oil Refiners ETF (CRAK)

Issuer: VanEck

YTD Return: 37.62%

Price: $28.68

Average Volume: 5,773

Assets Under Management: $8.56 million

Fee: 0.50%

The VanEck Vectors Oil Refiners ETF has returned 37.62% year to date. The Fund uses an index strategy to replicate the returns of the MVIS Global Oil Refiners Index. The Index is a rules-based, modified capitalization weighted index. It tracks the performance of companies involved in crude oil refining with production of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and fuel oil.  

United States Brent Oil Fund (BNO)

Issuer: U.S. Commodity Funds

YTD Return: 3.70%

Price: $16.26

Average Volume: 115,641

Assets Under Management: $99.112 million

Fee: 0.75%

BNO seeks to track the daily price movements of Brent crude oil. The Fund’s benchmark is the BNO Benchmark Oil Futures Contract which includes near month Brent crude oil futures contracts traded on the ICE Futures Exchange. To achieve the Fund’s strategy it primarily invests in Brent crude oil futures contracts. Other investments in the portfolio include other oil-related futures contracts, forwards, swap contracts, cash, cash equivalents and U.S. government obligations.

United States Short Oil Fund (DNO)

Issuer: U.S. Commodity Funds

YTD Return: 1.72%

Price: $63.03

Average Volume: 5,697

Assets Under Management: $9.436 million

Fee: 0.60%

DNO is an inverse index fund. It seeks to track the inverse return of price changes for West Texas Intermediate crude oil. The Fund’s benchmark is the DNO Benchmark Oil Futures Contract. The benchmark includes near month futures contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude oil traded on the NYMEX. The Fund takes short positions in futures contracts in order to achieve the inverse returns. The Fund’s portfolio also includes cash, cash equivalents and U.S. government obligations.

ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil (SCO)

Issuer: ProShares

YTD Return: -3.70%

Price: $30.48

Average Volume: 1,483,777

Assets Under Management: $239.893 million

Fee: 0.95%

SCO also seeks to achieve inverse returns on the price of oil. The Fund takes a two times inverse position against West Texas Intermediate crude oil. The inverse performance seeks to track the Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Subindex. To achieve the Fund’s strategy the Fund uses leverage and takes short positions against WTI crude oil futures.             

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