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Tickers in this Article: EBR, XTXI, ORA, NJR, NGG, WGL, PNY
The morning has been good for the market. The Nasdaq is up 0.5%; the S&P 500 has risen 0.5%; and the Dow is up 0.4%. 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.

Underperforming the market overall, the Utilities sector (XLU) is up 0.3%, and these are its current biggest movers:
CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (NYSE:EBR)$5.05 billion-5.8%
Crosstex Energy (Nasdaq:XTXI)$590.8 million+5.2%
Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA)$791.9 million+3.2%
New Jersey (NYSE:NJR)$1.65 billion+2.3%
National Grid plc (NYSE:NGG)$40.83 billion+1.8%
WGL Holdings (NYSE:WGL)$1.96 billion+1.7%
Piedmont Natural Gas Company (NYSE:PNY)$2.18 billion+1.5%
Broker Summary: TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim

After a decline of 5.8%, Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (NYSE:EBR) has hit a share price of $3.08. So far today, the company's volume is 993,163 shares.

Crosstex Energy (Nasdaq:XTXI) is at $13.19 per share after an increase of 5.2%. So far today, the company's volume is 66,153 shares, 0.3 times the average volume over the last three months.

After rising 3.2%, Ormat Technologies (NYSE:ORA) is currently trading at a share price of $18.46. So far today, 56,766 shares of the company's stock have changed hands. This is about the same trading activity as there was yesterday.

Increasing 2.3%, New Jersey (NYSE:NJR) is trading at $41.35 per share. At 111,060 shares, the company's volume so far today is in line with the current daily average.

After rising 1.8%, National Grid plc (NYSE:NGG) is currently trading at a share price of $56.80. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 129,928 shares.

Rising 1.7%, WGL Holdings (NYSE:WGL) is currently trading at $38.46 per share. At 136,413 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.6 times the current three-month average.

After an increase of 1.5%, Piedmont Natural Gas Company (NYSE:PNY) has reached a current price of $30.64. The company's volume is currently 34,619 shares. At this rate, trading activity will likely be down from yesterday when 286,819 shares changed hands.

The Bottom Line On any given day, a particular stock may see positive or negative change in its share price. It is important to weigh current activity against historical performance when making any investment decisions. Tools like valuation ratios and profit margins, however, are only as useful as the context you put them in; remember to take historical data and competitor performance into account.

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