Market check: Stocks lose steam into session close

Yahoo Finance's Jared Blikre breaks down the sector action as stocks head lower into the close.

Video transcript

- All right. We are setting up for a closing bell in roughly eight minutes. And Jared Blikre is watching what's happening with these markets. It looks like the Dow is struggling to stay positive, but a lot can happen in eight minutes.

JARED BLIKRE: Yes, it can, Adam. We've seen that happen many times here. Let's just check out the price action in the Dow, which has been hugging the unchanged, or the "unches," as they call it, for several hours now. So really not doing much, hadn't done much earlier in the day either. But the NASDAQ is sinking to new recent lows here. You can see off of those lows just a tiny little bit. And the Russell 2000, the underperformer of the group, down 2.4% and hitting those lows very recently.

Well, let's take a look inside the market. Front and center today, we have Apple. That is down a quarter percent but we're going to be bringing those earnings to live in about 40 minutes here at 4:30 as a scheduled time. Microsoft up 1%. Amazon up over 2%. Some of the other high flyers here, Netflix up over 8%.

But I want to take a look at the sector action and see-- well, this is our leaders. Let's take a look at the sectors. And we can see energy in the forefront. That is up 1% today. Crude oil settled a little bit lower, but still above $85 per barrel. That is followed by utilities and staples. And so as I've been saying, we had utilities, staples, and also some of the health care stocks. Those were leading earlier. But now, we have value, at least for the XLE is outperforming.

Also want to check out the travel sector here. Lots of red. Carnival Cruise lines down 5%. Royal Caribbean down 6%. Airlines not doing that much better. You can see Southwest Airlines down 2% after its earnings report. And let's take a look at these semiconductors because a little bit of bad news here from Intel, murky outlook. We see that stock down 6 and 1/2%. AMD down 7%.

And let's also take a look at the pharmaceutical space. This was leading earlier today. And we can see some nice gains for AstraZeneca, that's up 4%. Sanofi, that's up 3%. A couple of losers here. We have Eli Lilly, that's down about 4/10 of a percent.

Switching over to the energy market here. Guess what, we got ExxonMobil up 1 and 1/2%. Butu Chevron after increasing its dividend last night, it is up 2% to a record high. Here's a max chart. And I've been charting this earlier today. You can see basically dead money for over a decade, but finally, breaking to new highs only today. Guys.

- Well, Jared, and speaking of energy markets, I know you're also watching natural gases. Those prices post their largest jump ever. What are the details?

JARED BLIKRE: Yeah, so we had February natural gas futures expiring today. And there was a huge short covering rally into the close. Let me just get an internal-- excuse me-- intraday chart here. And you can see what a close that was. You can see even more on the candlestick basis, came up, came down, and then settled right in the middle. That is a major pain trade.

I just want to show what's happened in natural gas over the last five years. This spike is equal to the range you might see in an entire year or multiple years. If you take a look at the 20-year picture for natural gas, haven't seen a jump like this or the prices anyway since about 2006. And they call natural gas the widowmaker for a reason. Lots of pain in these trades. When it blew up in 2006, also blew up Amaranth-- I think Amaranth Capital was the name. Anyway, that was the biggest loss to date for a hedge fund. I think it was $6 billion. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some more pain today.

Looking ahead to the March contract, which has been live for some time, we can see-- let me get a one-month view here. We could see a huge spike up there, too. So maybe some more pain trades in the energy market to come.