The market is having a bad day so far: the Nasdaq is down 1.7%; the S&P 500 has fallen 0.8%; and the Dow has decreased 0.7%. The energy sector is the category of stocks that relate to producing or supplying energy. This sector includes companies involved in the exploration and development of oil or gas reserves, oil and gas drilling, or integrated power firms. Performance in the sector is largely driven by the supply and demand for worldwide energy. Energy producers will do very well during times of high oil and gas prices, but will earn less when the value of energy drops. Furthermore, this sector is sensitive to political events, which historically have driven changes in the price of oil.

The Energy sector (XLE) is up 0.2% on a bad day for the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector are currently:

CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Laredo Petroleum Holdings (NYSE:LPI)$2.77 billion-7.5%
Gulfport (Nasdaq:GPOR)$1.69 billion+5%
Newfield Exploration (NYSE:NFX)$4.15 billion+4.7%
Walter Energy (NYSE:WLT)$2.11 billion+3.7%
CGG Veritas (NYSE:CGV)$5.09 billion+3.3%
SM (NYSE:SM)$3.38 billion+3.1%
Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR)$13.86 billion+2.5%
Broker Summary: TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim

After a decline of 7.5%, Laredo Petroleum Holdings (NYSE:LPI) has hit a share price of $19.98. So far today, 191,429 shares have changed hands. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite.

Gulfport (Nasdaq:GPOR) has increased to a share price of $31.95, a 5% rise. The company's volume for the day so far is 850,766 shares, 0.9 times the average volume over the last three months. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is.

Rising 4.7%, Newfield Exploration (NYSE:NFX) is currently trading at $32.19 per share. The company's volume is currently 1.6 million shares. This is greater than yesterday's volume of 1.2 million shares. Price change alone is not enough to know how a stock is doing. Volume is an important secondary indicator used to confirm trends suggested by price movement.

Walter Energy (NYSE:WLT) has risen 3.7% and is currently trading at $35.05 per share. At 2.3 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.9 times the current daily average. In technical analysis, trading volume is used to determine the strength of a market indicator.

After rising 3.3%, CGG Veritas (NYSE:CGV) is currently trading at a share price of $34.60. The company's volume for the day so far is 8,005 shares. Volume is used to evaluate how meaningful the price movement of a stock is.

Increasing 3.1%, SM (NYSE:SM) is trading at $53.56 per share. At 301,843 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.3 times the current three-month average. A stock's volume conveys how excited investors are about it.

Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) is up 2.5% to reach a current price of $78.45 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.2 million shares. Yesterday's volume was only 784,145 shares. Volume is an important indicator in technical analysis as it is used to measure the worth of a market move. If the markets have made a strong price move either up or down the perceived strength of that move depends on the volume for that period. The higher the volume during that price move the more significant the move.

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. It is important to weigh current activity against historical performance when making any investment decisions. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.

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Tickers in this Article: LPI, GPOR, NFX, WLT, CGV, SM, CLR

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