Energy stocks hurt by oil price slump

By Staff Writer

Mar 16, 2016 07:52 AM EDT

Wall Street faced slight losses in the stock market on Monday as the drop in oil price burdened energy stocks. Crude prices retreated in the commodity market after Iran refused to freeze oil output until it reaches the post-sanctions target of four million. While, other producers like Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela agreed to halt their production, Iran wanted to boost its oil reserve, regardless of the oversupply.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) had said that crude prices have likely recovered from its historic low level in January owing to the fall in oil supply. However, analysts viewed this price rally as a sign of another demise. But, Iran's refusal to join other producers to halt oil production burdened Brent and crude prices again, sending energy stocks to a low level. US crude prices declined over 4% following Iran's decision to stay away from output freeze. Shares of energy firms like Exxon and Chevron lost 0.7% during the trading session on Monday.

Currently, S&P 500 stocks are down just nearly 1% in 2016. Jack Ablin, BMO Private Bank's chief investment officer, called this fluctuation in oil prices as "calm before the storm". Ablin also advised investors not to make huge bets as things are expected to change in the following couple of days.

The energy sector amid the S&P 500 index dropped 0.78% while consumer discretionary increased by 0.43%. Shares of Exxon and Chevron were down at $81.63 and $93.64 respectively on Monday, as reported by Reuters.

Canada's Toronto Stock Exchange also faced serious losses as energy firms were impacted by oil price slump. Suncor Energy fell 1.4% to C$34.14 while Canadian Natural Resources dropped 1.2% to C$35.69.

Financial Times pointed out that oil and gas drilling firms were the horrible performers in the energy sector. Diamond Offshore fell 5.7% to $21.48 in the trading session on Monday, while oilfield stocks like Schlumberger declined 2.3% to $73.26.

The oil price slide also pushed pipeline companies to a fall, with TransCanada falling 1.1% to C$47.09 and Enbridge down 1.8% at C%50.30. Veresen declined 11.6% to C$7.54 following a dismissal of its project to construct a gas pipeline and LNG export station. On the whole, the energy sector lost 2.2% in Canada's stock market. Overall, S&P/TSX combined index shed 93.96 points, or 0.69% and stood at 13,428.04.

Meanwhile, the growing demand in countries like India and China is expected to boost oil price in the coming period. Oil demand in India increased by 300,000 barrels per day while demand growth in China decreased to 300,000 barrels per day from 500,000 barrels, Bloomberg said quoting a study report from The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. IEA predicts oil consumption in India to reach 4.2 million barrels per day in 2016.

The future of energy firms depends highly on oil price market. Iran being the largest producer must step forward to ease oversupply of oil to the global market. Investors are shying away from these energy stocks owing to the fluctuation in oil prices.

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