This morning's trading has marked a bad day for the market so far. The Nasdaq has slipped 0.1%; the S&P 500 has fallen 0.2%; and the Dow is trading down 0.1%. 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 down 0.2%, underperforming the market overall. The current biggest movers in the sector are:

CompanyMarket CapPercentage Change
Crestwood Midstream (NYSE:CMLP)$1.13 billion-4.7%
TransAlta Corporation (NYSE:TAC)$3.85 billion+2.1%
TC (NYSE:TCP)$2.43 billion-1.7%
Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD)$47.96 billion-1.6%
Western Gas (NYSE:WES)$5 billion-1.6%
National Fuel (NYSE:NFG)$4.41 billion+1.5%
Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI)$25.88 billion-1.3%
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Slipping 4.7%, Crestwood Midstream (NYSE:CMLP) is currently trading at $22.45 per share. So far today, 118,410 shares of the company's stock have changed hands.

TransAlta Corporation (NYSE:TAC) has risen 2.1% and is currently trading at $15.64 per share. So far today, the company's volume is 33,854 shares, 0.7 times its current daily average.

TC (NYSE:TCP) is down 1.7% to reach $44.74 per share. The company is currently trading a volume of 25,217 shares.

Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD) is trading at $53.21 per share, down 1.6%. At 363,994 shares, the company's volume so far today is in keeping with the average volume over the past three months.

Western Gas (NYSE:WES) is currently trading at a share price of $51.31, a 1.6% decline. The company's volume is currently 33,272 shares.

National Fuel (NYSE:NFG) has increased to a share price of $53.68, a 1.5% rise. At 90,713 shares, the company's volume so far today is 0.2 times the current daily average.

Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) has fallen 1.3% and is currently trading at $34.62 per share. The company's volume for the day so far is 1.3 million shares.

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. 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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Tickers in this Article: CMLP, TAC, TCP, EPD, WES, NFG, KMI

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