Taking a gander at the longer-term trend in crude oil prices via this Finviz weekly futures chart.
You can plainly see the bull move of 2007-2008 and the ensuing correction (plunge) from $140 that followed here. Then we see the bottoming process and rally off the early 2009 lows, when crude oil traded near $30 a barrel. The uptrend of the past two years has taken us back above $100 a barrel.
You'll also notice the COT (commitment of traders report) data below the price chart. It seems the commercial hedgers are the savvy players in the oil market. Their relatively infrequent net long exposure seems to occur near cyclical bottoms in crude oil prices. Of course, their net short positions tend to increase as the price of oil trends higher.
Perhaps some of our commodity-savvy readers can fill us in on any useful ways to read & use the COT data. If you have some helpful insights, please add them in the comments.