March 8, 2017: The S&P 500 closed slightly lower on the day, down 0.23%, or 5.41 points at 2,362.98. Overall this was brought about by weakness primarily in the energy sector. The majors in the Energy Sector, Exxon and Chevron were down about 2% each, but the smaller independent oil and gas firms got slaughtered—which really pulled the sector down. It seemed that the only positive sector was Health Care, which is clawing back from its losses on Tuesday. Separately, the DJIA closed down 0.33% on the day at 20,855.73, down approximately 69.03 points.
Crude Oil crashed on the day, closing at $50.30 down 5.3% from Tuesday’s close.
Gold also sank lower in Wednesday’s session down 0.6% or $7.50 to close at $1,208.60.
As we said before the strong industries that propped up the index were Biotech and Health Care stocks. These were reacting to the new Republican health care plan. Funny that just yesterday these were the biggest drag on the S&P 500, now they are the strongest pillar propping the index up.
Obviously, after seeing oil crater by so much on Wednesday, independent oil and gas companies led the charge downward with some help from Utilities as well.
The S&P 500 stock posting the largest daily percentage loss ahead of the close Wednesday was Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) which traded down 8.7% at $14.86. The stock’s 52-week range is $9.65 to $19.28. Volume was about 108% of the daily average of around 11.32 million shares. The company had no specific news but was continuing to drop from falling crude prices.
The stock posting the largest daily percentage gain in the S&P 500 ahead of the close Wednesday was H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) which jumped nearly 15% to $23.94. The gain was due to the company’s most recent earnings report. The stock’s 52-week range is $19.18 to $28.61. Volume was about 17.22 million, well above the daily average of around 2.91 million shares.