NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- All it took on Tuesday to be a winner in the energy sector was not selling off.
Close to flat performance from drilling company ENSCO (ESV - Get Report) was enough to be considered a winner among major energy sector plays, as crude oil dropped by more than 2.5% on Tuesday afternoon and energy stocks, from the integrated oil majors to the drillers and oil services companies, sold off.
The energy sector was down by 2.4% at the close, in line with the afternoon decline in the price of crude oil to a settle price of $82.34. The previous crude oil settle price was $84.88. All the major market indexes hit lows that hadn't been seen since August.
ENSCO shares may have been able to avoid the energy sector decline as a result of the quarterly filing from hedge fund manager David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital. ENSCO shares finished Tuesday up by less than 1%. The hedge fund revealed an increased stake in ENSCO. Greenlight's interest in ENSCO isn't new, though, as the hedge fund announced a 5% initial stake in the drilling company in July.Dynegy was the real energy winner on Tuesday afternoon, though it was a trade on the latest twist in the battle for the struggling energy wholesaling company, with the Blackstone Group upping its offer 11% to $5 per Dynegy share a day ahead of a key shareholder vote on the LBO offer.
(CRZO - Get Report) and Contango Oil & Gas (MCF). Contango Oil was added to the S&P 600 Small Cap Index on Monday. Trading in Contango Oil was five times its average daily volume on Tuesday. Trading in Carrizo was not unusual and there was no news of note about the company. The biggest loser in the energy sector on Tuesday was, not surprisingly, one of its most speculative plays: Hercules Offshore (HERO), the drilling stock that always swings in volatile fashion with the markets. It was down 9% on Tuesday. Among the major integrated oil plays, foreign-based oil companies were leading losses on the day, no surprise with foreign markets spooking investors. Total (TOT) and BP (BP) were leading losses late on Tuesday afternoon, down 4% and 3.3% respectively. Repsol (REP) and Petrobras (PBR) were also at the top of the loser's list among oil majors. Among oil services plays, Halliburton (HAL) led losses, down 2%. Schlumberger (SLB), Weatherford International (WFT) and Baker-Hughes (BHI) were all down between 1% and 2% in trading on Tuesday. The recent stock market rally saw many stocks across many sectors hit multi-year highs. This wasn't the case for energy stocks, though, especially electricity generators in a similar space to Dynegy. On Tuesday, there were energy stocks hitting multi-year lows as a result of the market selloff. NRG Energy (NRG - Get Report) was among the energy plays from the utility sector that was at a two-year low during Tuesday trading. -- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.
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