Oil and gas companies ended with losses, weighed down by plunging oil prices, Thursday, Dec. 20, while utilities settled with a little gain. Broader markets also closed with losses as the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 1.99% to close at 22,859.60, and the S&P 500 lost 1.58% to finish at 2,467.42.
Brent crude slid 5.05% to end at $54.35 per barrel, and Light Sweet crude retreated 2.80% to settle at $45.88 per barrel.
The S&P 500 Energy Sector closed down 2.79% to 419.45, and the Alerian MLP Index declined 2.74% to 225.33.
Exxon Mobil Corp. shares retreated 3.04% in brisk trading to close at $68.63, following a report that the company was granted a financial hardship waiver by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this year, freeing its 60,000-barrel-per-day Billings, Mont., refinery from U.S. biofuel blending mandates during the 2017 compliance period.
Enbridge Inc. completed its mergers with Enbridge Energy Partners LP and Enbridge Energy Management LLC, wrapping up the roll-ups of its sponsored vehicles to simplify its corporate structure.
Enbridge dropped 0.86% in active trading to finish at $31.05, Enbridge Energy Partners added 1.56% on 13x average volume to end at $10.43, and Enbridge Energy Management rose 2.44% on strong volume to close at $10.51.
Shares of NGL Energy Partners LP dropped 5.41% in active trading to $9.27, after the company agreed to divest its water disposal assets in the South Pecos production area for $238.8 million.
Husky Energy Inc. declined 1.72% in strong trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange to close at C$14.27. The company expects to cut its capital spending in 2019 in anticipation of the Alberta government's mandated oil production cuts.
Among electric and diversified utilities, SCANA Corp. picked up 1.00% in strong trading to close at $49.60, after Fitch Ratings upgraded the company and its subsidiaries, with positive ratings outlooks.
The upgrades were prompted by the recent decision by the Public Service Commission of South Carolina to conditionally approve Dominion Energy Inc.'s $14.7 billion acquisition of SCANA.
Dominion closed the day 0.96% up on strong volume to settle at $74.82.
Also, TransAlta Corp. shares were down 6.10% on the Toronto Stock Exchange to C$6.16 on more than triple average volume. NRG Energy shares declined 4.64% to $38.22, and Vistra Energy Corp. shares dropped 3.93% to $22.25, both on heavy volume.
Among solar stocks, Sunrun Inc. nosedived 12.23% to $10.48, after the company said it completed a securitization of leases and power purchase agreements, what it calls "solar-as-a-service." Vivint Solar Inc. tumbled 7.62% to end at $4.00, and SunPower Corp. declined 4.77% to finish at $5.39, all on heavy volumes.
The S&P 500 Utilities Sector added 0.27% to close at 275.30.