Wall Street was down on Wednesday, March 20, after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled that there will be no interest rate hike in 2019. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 0.55% to settle at 25,745.67, and the S&P 500 declined 0.29% to close the day at 2,824.23.
Meanwhile, energy equities stayed afloat due to higher oil prices. Brent crude rose 1.32% to $68.50 per barrel, and Light Sweet crude advanced 1.36% to $59.83 per barrel.
Exxon Mobil Corp. picked up 0.56% in below-average trading to close at $81.32. According to a Reuters report citing unnamed sources, the talks between Exxon and Algeria's national oil firm Sonatrach Spa to develop shale gas were suspended temporarily.
Enterprise Products Partners LP added 0.45% on slightly lower-tan-average volume to finish at $29.06, following news that it is working with futures exchange company CME Group Inc. to offer U.S. crude oil for export from the Houston Ship Channel through an electronic futures contract auction.
Among other oil and gas companies, Range Resources Corp. advanced 5.11% on below-average volume to finish at $11.31; Pioneer Natural Resources Co. gained 4.51% in robust trading to close at $144.44; EQT Corp. climbed 3.89% on light volume to settle at $20.83; and Noble Energy Inc. added 3.63% in active trading to end at $24.87.
The S&P 500 Energy Sector saw a 0.89% increase to 494.51, and the Alerian MLP Index was up 0.36% to 257.01.
In the electric and diversified utilities sector, Southern Co. rose 0.37% on slim volume to close at $51.18. President Donald Trump's administration is set to give $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to help Southern Co. and its partners finish the long-delayed expansion of the Alvin W. Vogtle Nuclear Plant in Georgia.
Among other sector components, TransAlta Corp. gained 1.79% to C$9.10 on average volume; NRG Energy Inc. closed up 1.38% in light trading to $42.51; Sempra Energy finished 0.90% higher on above-average volume to $125.05; and NextEra Energy Inc. earned 0.73% on slightly below-average trading volume to $189.87.
The S&P 500 Utilities Sector managed a 0.29% gain to close at 291.56.
Market prices and index values are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change.