Markets were gloomy overall on Monday, Jan. 14, with broader benchmarks losing as weaker Chinese trade data hinted a global slowdown. Major energy indexes also closed on losses, led by electric utility sector.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave away 0.36% to 23,909.84, and the S&P 500 retreated 0.53% to 2,582.61 at the closing bell.
One of the largest electric utilities and a big player on the West Coast, PG&E Corp. stock plunged 52.36% to $8.38 at the end of a session that was roughly 10x heavier than average volume. The slide was spurred by news that PG&E Corp. and utility subsidiary Pacific Gas and Electric Co. are looking to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 reorganization. The utility's stock had reached as high as $49 per share in November 2018.
Most electric and diversified utilities were down on the day. Two in particular were affected likely due to power purchase agreements they have with Pacific Gas & Electric. Clearway Energy Inc. shares lost 11.29% to $13.98, and Pattern Energy Group Inc. gave up 3.61% to $19.50, both on higher-than-average volume. Fellow California-headquartered utility Edison International slipped 1.97% to finish an above-average session at $58.15.
Among other large utilities, Dominion Energy Inc.'s stock price chipped away 2.69% to close at $67.97; NextEra Energy Inc. stock shed 2.55% to $171.23; and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. stock lost 2.18% to $50.75, all on active volumes.
The S&P 500 Utilities Index dropped 2.23% to 264.22.
Not being in the spotlight was helpful for some oil and gas companies. The likes of Range Resources Corp., EQT Corp. and Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. all saw gains in their share prices. Range Resources stock gained 3.22% to $11.87 on above-average volume; while in lighter trading EQT shares picked up 2.06% to $20.79 and Cabot Oil & Gas shares added 1.99% reaching $24.66.
U.K.-based driller Ensco PLC has said that it will hike its exchange ratio for its merger with Houston-based driller Rowan Cos. plc. Rowan's shares rose 7.25% to $11.24, and Ensco shares inched up 0.46% to $4.38, both on strong volume. Both companies are listed on the NYSE.
Among major losers in the industry were the stocks of TC PipeLines LP, which shrank 3.37% to $31.27 on about average volume; EnLink Midstream Partners LP, sliding 3.32% to $12.23 on strong volume; and Western Gas Partners LP, down 2.51% to $45.82 on strong volume.
The S&P 500 Energy Index decreased 0.19% to 457.43 and the Alerian MLP Index declined 1.09% to 242.82.
Market prices and index values are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change.