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Why the Dow's Energy Giants Fell on a Double-Record Day

Thursday - 3/28/2013, 9:00pm  ET

The long-awaited reunion of stock market benchmarks at record-high levels finally happened today, as the S&P 500 joined the Dow Jones Industrials in climbing above its former 2007 highs. Continuing positive economic data on the domestic front outweighed any concerns about the global economic situation, and the markets finished near their highs of the day, with the Dow gaining 52 points, and the S&P climbing six points, to 1,569.

Most of the Dow's component stocks advanced, but one weak spot was energy. Even though oil prices rose more than $0.50, to climb above $97 per barrel, both Chevron and ExxonMobil posted losses on the day, with most of the declines coming at the very end of the trading day.

Chevron suffered the bigger loss, falling more than 1% on critical comments from the governor of Utah over multiple spills from ruptured pipelines within the state over the past several years. The potential liability involved in the most recent Willard Bay State Park spill is likely insubstantial for the company, but the episode highlights the many environmental concerns over increased pipeline-building and drilling activity.

Exxon fell 0.5% on similarly sparse news, with the company saying that its chemical subsidiary would license technology to South African energy giant Sasol for a polyethylene plant in Louisiana. But the end-of-day move for both stocks looks more like what you'd see from an institutional rebalancing of portfolios geared to de-emphasize energy stocks.

Beyond the Dow, Five Below fell more than 3% as it gave negative guidance for its current quarter in its quarterly report last night. Despite having seen good success in its low-price under-$5 business model, Five Below said that options granted to the company's founders would result in some tax-related expenses that would hurt earnings per share, and it also projected sales below expectations.

Finally, Boyd Gaming fell 4.5%. Despite the potential boon from the legalization of New Jersey gambling, Boyd still faces a tough overall environment in the gaming industry. Even if the economy starts to pick up, heavy competition on the domestic gaming front will require Boyd to keep fighting hard to get and keep patrons coming into its casinos.

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This article was originally published as Why the Dow's Energy Giants Fell on a Double-Record Dayon Fool.com

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