The Nasdaq is down 0.5%, the S&P 500 has fallen 0.3% and the Dow has moved little after the morning's trading. The utilities sector is a category of stocks for utilities such as gas and power. It contains companies such as electric, gas and water firms and integrated providers. Because utilities require significant infrastructure, these firms often carry large amounts of debt. With a high debt load, utilities companies become sensitive to changes in the interest rate. As interest rates rise or drop, the debt payments will increase or decrease. The utilities sector performs best when interest rates are falling or remain low.

On a quiet day for the market overall so far, the Utilities sector (XLU) has slipped 0.2% and its biggest movers are currently:

Company Market Cap Percentage Change
Atlas (NYSE:ATLS) $1.69 billion +3.7%
Crosstex Energy (Nasdaq:XTEX) $983.6 million -2.6%
PNM Resources (NYSE:PNM) $1.69 billion -2.1%
DCP Midstream (NYSE:DPM) $2.5 billion -1.8%
New Jersey (NYSE:NJR) $1.71 billion -1.5%
CPFL Energia S.A (NYSE:CPL) $10.32 billion +1.4%
Companhia Paranaense de Energia (NYSE:ELP) $3.72 billion +1.3%

Forex Broker Summary: UFXMarkets

Atlas (NYSE:ATLS) is at $34.06 per share after an increase of 3.7%. So far today, the company's volume is 205,341 shares, consistent with the volume from yesterday which is likely to result in less activity than yesterday's volume of 513,052 shares.

Crosstex Energy (Nasdaq:XTEX) is down 2.6% to reach $14.35 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 61,525 shares. This is 0.2 times its current three-month average.

Currently trading at $20.76 per share, PNM Resources (NYSE:PNM) has fallen 2.1%. So far today, the company's volume is 304,021 shares, 0.9 times the average daily volume.

DCP Midstream (NYSE:DPM) is currently trading at a share price of $40.27, a 1.8% decline. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 130,705 shares.

Slipping 1.5%, New Jersey (NYSE:NJR) is currently trading at $40.50 per share. The company's volume is currently 73,454 shares for the day, while it was 301,249 shares yesterday.

CPFL Energia S.A (NYSE:CPL) is up 1.4% to reach a current price of $21.74 per share. The company is currently trading a volume of 103,407 shares. This is 0.3 times its average volume over the past three months.

Increasing 1.3%, Companhia Paranaense de Energia (NYSE:ELP) is trading at $13.76 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 177,656 shares, in keeping with its current daily average.

The Bottom Line The nature of the market is such that stocks will have good days and bad days. Daily stock performance should be weighed against historical performance and put in context of the market overall. However, these fundamental metrics must be analyzed with historic data, industry information in addition to firm specific financial statements.