The market is currently down, with the Nasdaq decreasing 0.5%, the S&P 500 falling 0.2% and the Dow declining 0.2%. 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.

The Utilities sector (XLU) is up 0.6% on a bad day for the market overall. The biggest movers in the sector are currently:

Company Market Cap Percentage Change
Companhia Energetica Minas Gerais (NYSE:CIG) $9.9 billion -3.3%
Niska Gas Storage (NYSE:NKA) $774.5 million -3.2%
PPL (NYSE:PPL) $16.43 billion +2.4%
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE:BIP) $4.84 billion +2.3%
South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI) $1.49 billion +2.2%
Exterran Partners (Nasdaq:EXLP) $950.9 million -2.2%
Energy Transfer (NYSE:ETP) $10.04 billion +2.1%

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Companhia Energetica Minas Gerais (NYSE:CIG) has fallen 3.3% and is currently trading at $11.23 per share. At 2.7 million shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.9 times the average daily volume.

Niska Gas Storage (NYSE:NKA) is trading at $10.98 per share, down 3.2%. The company's volume is currently 57,020 shares. This is a sign that there will be less trading activity than there was yesterday.

PPL (NYSE:PPL) has increased to a share price of $28.98, a 2.4% rise. The company's volume for the day so far is 4.3 million shares, 1.2 times the current three-month average.

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE:BIP) is at $34.48 per share after an increase of 2.3%. This morning, the company is trading a volume of 230,432 shares.

After rising 2.2%, South Jersey Industries (NYSE:SJI) is currently trading at a share price of $49.21. So far today, the company's volume is 37,848 shares, consistent with its current daily average.

Exterran Partners (Nasdaq:EXLP) has decreased to $22.01 per share, a 2.2% fall. The company is trading at a volume of 27,073 shares. This is on pace to fall short of yesterday's volume of 123,098 shares.

Rising 2.1%, Energy Transfer (NYSE:ETP) is currently trading at $41.73 per share. At 990,803 shares, the company's volume so far today is in keeping with its current three-month average.

The Bottom Line No matter the economic climate, Wall Street will always have stocks that make major moves each week. 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.

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