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Tickers in this Article: HNP, ETP, ENB, TRGP, ORA, SBS, WTR
So far today, the Nasdaq remains relatively unchanged, the S&P 500 is trading down 0.2% and the Dow is down 0.5%. 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 0.1% and its biggest movers are currently:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Huaneng Power International, Inc (NYSE:HNP)$10.17 billion+1.8%
Energy Transfer (NYSE:ETP)$10.8 billion-1.5%
Enbridge Inc (NYSE:ENB)$32.5 billion-1.4%
Targa (NYSE:TRGP)$2.14 billion+1.3%
Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA)$868.2 million+1.2%
Companhia de Saneamento Basico (NYSE:SBS)$9.89 billion-1.1%
Aqua America (NYSE:WTR)$3.46 billion+0.8%
Beginner's Guide To

After rising 1.8%, Huaneng Power International, Inc (NYSE:HNP) is currently trading at a share price of $29.44. The company is currently trading a volume of 33,833 shares. If a stock is trading on low volume, then there is not much interest in the stock. On the other hand, if a stock is trading on high volume, then there is a lot of interest in the stock.

Currently trading at $43.31 per share, Energy Transfer (NYSE:ETP) has fallen 1.5%. At 1.4 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.4 times its current three-month average. Volume is an important indicator because it indicates how significant a price shift is.

Enbridge Inc (NYSE:ENB) has decreased to $40.18 per share, a 1.4% fall. So far today, the company's volume is 252,169 shares. This is a sign that there will be less trading activity than there was yesterday. The trading volume for a stock indicates the level of investor interest.

Targa (NYSE:TRGP) has risen 1.3% to hit a current price of $51.07 per share. The company's volume is currently 46,930 shares for the day, 0.2 times the average daily volume. High volume indicates a lot of investor interest while low volume indicates the opposite.

After an increase of 1.2%, Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA) has reached a current price of $19.34. So far today, the company's volume is 14,900 shares. When a stock price moves up or down, watching the volume is a good way of identifying how significant that shift is.

Falling 1.1%, Companhia de Saneamento Basico (NYSE:SBS) is currently at a share price of $85.88. The company's volume for the day so far is 89,659 shares, 0.2 times the average volume over the last three months. If a stock price makes a big move up or down, volume lets us know the significance of that move.

Rising 0.8%, Aqua America (NYSE:WTR) is currently trading at $25.00 per share. So far today, 196,572 shares of the company's stock have changed hands. At this rate, trading activity will likely be down from yesterday when 568,793 shares changed hands. 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.

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. Paying close attention to the previous ratios will help you identify key times to adjust your strategy. Keep in mind that all these ratios should be compared against historical numbers and industry information in order to get a more complete picture.

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