Energy equities were weighed down by a drop in oil prices on Tuesday, Dec. 18, while broader markets settled with small gains. Brent crude slid 5.94% to $56.07 per barrel, and Light Sweet crude slumped 7.96% to $45.91 per barrel.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw a 0.35% increase to end the day at 23,675.64, and the S&P 500 finished virtually unchanged, up 0.01% to settle at 2,546.16.
The S&P 500 Energy Sector lost 2.35% to 436.96, and the Alerian MLP Index declined 2.43% to 229.23.
Among oil and gas majors, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. slumped 4.94% to close at $47.13; Hess Corp. declined 4.92% to finish at $47.31; and Concho Resources Inc. retreated 4.45% to settle at $104.90, all in active trading.
Antero Resources Corp. cashed in portions of its 2019 and 2020 hedge book for $357 million that it plans to use to pay down debt. The company closed the day down 0.46% in active trading to $10.73.
ConocoPhillips was down 1.92% on about average volume to end at $61.91, after closing two separate transactions with BP PLC to simultaneously expand its Alaska footprint while shedding a portion of its assets offshore the U.K.
Two electric utilities with holdings in the U.K. saw steep losses after the utilities regulator proposed cuts to the cost of capital for networks, saying it would help lower consumer rates. National Grid Group Plc shares dropped 9.81% to $46.72, and PPL Corp. tumbled 6.64% to $27.97, both trading at about 4x average on the New York Stock Exchange.
PG&E Corp. shares extended a decline from the previous day, closing down 5.81% on strong volume to $23.02, after utility subsidiary Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said it has changed its corporate leadership.
Now under investigation at the California Public Utilities Commission for allegedly failing to keep up with critical infrastructure location requests and falsifying records to cover up its shortcomings, the utility said it "took and continues to take" corrective actions to meet regulatory requirements.
Hydro One Ltd. edged up 0.68% after trading the Toronto Stock Exchange to close at C$20.71 while potential merger partner Avista Corp. shed 1.86% on below-average volume to settle at $43.15. The companies filed a petition with the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission to reconsider its Dec. 5 order rejecting their proposed $5.3 billion merger.
TransAlta Corp. shed 3.23% after a brisk trading day on the TSX to settle at C$6.59, after the company opted to buy a 50% stake in an under-construction natural gas pipeline for C$90 million that will enable power plants in central Alberta to be switched from coal fueling.
Among other electric and diversified utilities, Pattern Energy Group Inc. dipped 3.39% to $18.82 in active trading; CenterPoint Energy Inc. lost 2.11% in slightly above-average trading to close at at $28.30; and Edison International dropped 1.20% in light trading to settle at $57.49.
The S&P 500 Utilities Sector was down 0.64% to 275.15.
Market prices and index values are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change.