Stocks closed slightly lower in extremely light trading Thursday as investors remained on the sidelines ahead of Christmas. The price of crude oil continued to recover.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 50.44 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,552.17. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 3.30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,060.99 and the Nasdaq composite rose 2.56 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 5,048.49. Christmas Eve is almost always the quietest trading day of the year, and this year was no exception. Roughly 1.4 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, a third of what’s typical and the lowest volume since Christmas Eve 2013.U.S. and European markets will remain closed Friday in observance of Christmas.
While stocks were slightly lower Thursday, U.S. markets had a solid week. The S&P 500 rose nearly 3 percent and is back into positive territory for the year, albeit barely. It is not uncommon for stocks to rally into the end of the year, as investors close their books and reposition themselves for the next year. “The Santa Claus rally got an early start,” said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist with Prudential Financial, referring to the gains that historically happen between Christmas and New Year’s Day. “If we can hold onto this, we will be setting up for a good January.”Oil prices continued to recover from lows earlier in the week. U.S. crude futures gained 60 cents to close at $38.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose 53 cents to close at $37.89 a barrel in London. Energy stocks didn’t benefit from oil’s climb.
CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE:CNX) ended its day with the gaining of 0.46% after opening at $ 8.60 on 24 December, 2015..The worst hit in its 52 week range is $6.30 per share, with $35.50 as its 52 week best price. The USA based company with the total traded volume of 3.54M shares less than average volume of 11.08M United States Steel Corporation CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE:CNX) on December 11, 2015 announced that it signed several term coal deals totaling 10.8 million tons over a 3-year period. These agreements, along with 650 thousand tons of additional commitments for 2016, increase CONSOL’s Pennsylvania Operations 2016, 2017, and 2018 sold positions to 93%, 61%, and 49%, respectively, assuming the midpoint of the guidance range of 26 million tons. Nicholas J. DeIuliis, president and CEO commented, “These agreements demonstrate that even as markets continue to be challenged, customers are still incentivized to contract for term commitments to assure that they have a reliable supply of coal. The Pennsylvania Operations coal has a quality advantage due to its high British thermal units (BTUs) that not only optimizes plant performance, but also travels well to compete in non-traditional markets.
WPX Energy Inc (NYSE:WPX) closed at price of $13.74by gaining 0.34% on 24 December, 2015. Its beta value stands at 1.32 and 52 week range of the stock remained $5.15 – $14.65, while its day lowest price was $5.66 and its hit its day highest price at $14.65. The company total market capitalization is $1.62B along with 275.28M shares outstanding. WPX Energy Inc (NYSE:WPX) on November 19, 2015 announced that it has completed the sale of a North Dakota gathering system for approximately $185 million to a private equity fund managed by the Ares EIF Group, a subsidiary of Ares Management, L.P. (ARES). The sale is part of WPX’s deleveraging plan targeting $400-$500 million in divestitures by the end of 2015. WPX also recently completed an $80 million sale of its coalbed methane properties in Wyoming.
California Resources Corp (NYSE:CRC) opened its shares trading at the price of $2.41, reaching at a closing price of $2.34 after losing -1.27% for the day on 24 December, 2015. The company total market capitalization is $919.18M along with 387.84M shares outstanding. California Resources Corp (NYSE:CRC)on December 15, 2015 announced that it expects total average production for the full year 2015 to increase approximately one percent to an average of approximately 160 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day and crude oil to increase by approximately five percent to 104 thousand barrels per day. Cash costs, excluding interest charges, are expected to fall by 11% from 2014 levels and 2015 capital investments are expected to total approximately $400 million, enabling CRC to drill and complete 311 wells and invest about $160 million in its infrastructure and facilities.