Blue chip gauges recorded their worst Christmas Eve trading day ever Monday, Dec. 24, driven down in part by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's weekend calls to bank executives about liquidity, as well as the continuing U.S. government shutdown and concerns that Federal Reserve is trying to normalize interest rates too rapidly. Oil prices continued their downward run as well.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2.91% to 21,792.20, and the S&P 500 skidded 2.71% to 2,351.10 even as the markets closed early for Christmas Eve. The Brent Crude declined 6.22% to $50.47 per barrel and Light Sweet Crude decreased 6.71% to $42.53 per barrel.
Oil company stocks followed the commodity prices lower, with players such as Hess Corp., DCP Midstream LP and Genesis Energy LP seeing declines.
Hess stock nosedived 12.20% to $36.43 on nearly double average volume; DCP Midstream lost 6.73% to finish a below-average day at $25.35; and Genesis Energy shares retreated 6.37% at the close of an average session at $17.79.
Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and BP plc also did not fare well. Exxon Mobil shares lost 3.83% to close at $65.51 on average volume; Chevron stock slid 3.09% to $100.99 on below-average volume, touching a 52-week low; and BP closed a light session down 2.71% to $36.65.
The S&P 500 Energy Index retreated 4.02% to close at 398.39 and the Alerian MLP Index gave away 4.08% to 212.29.
Electric and diversified utilities stumbled as well, with several companies seeing their stock value drop by more than 5%. NextEra Energy Inc. shares slipped 3.46% to $168.08 and its yieldco NextEra Energy Partners closed down 6.60% to $39.89 on average trading. NextEra Energy Partners closed its acquisition of an approximately 1,388-MW portfolio of wind and solar projects from corporate affiliate NextEra Energy Resources LLC for $1.28 billion in cash.
Pinnacle West Capital Corp. stock shrank 5.37% to close at $84.61 on slim volume. The company entered a $150 million unsecured term loan to help meet general corporate needs.
Among other decliners, UGI Corp. tumbled 6.95% to $51.95; Consolidated Edison Inc. fell 5.80% to $75.32; CMS Energy Corp. stock slid 5.71% to $48.25; and Ameren Corp. shares conceded 5.53% to close at 63.24, all on below-average volumes.
PG&E Corp. shares were an outlier, picking up 1.76% to reach $23.15 on below-average volume. However, California regulators issued a ruling Dec. 21 continuing an investigation into utility subsidiary Pacific Gas & Electric Co.'s safety culture, including questions such as whether the company needs new corporate management and new members on its board of directors.
The S&P 500 Utilities Index lost 4.27% to close at 261.70.
Market prices and index values are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change.