Oil prices were the name of the game Wednesday, slipping below $27 a barrel and roiling the S&P 500.
Southwestern Energy (SWN), a Houston-based oil and gas producer, led the index with a 13% gain as the persistent decline in oil prices highlighted the appeal of natural gas.
Oil prices fell 7% on the day, based on the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate, while natural gas prices picked up about 2%, based on their standard benchmark.
Range Resources (RRC) and Chesapeake Energy (CHK), which was the S&P's worst performer yesterday, followed Southwestern in regular market trading Wednesday, each posting 8% gains.
At the bottom of the barrel was Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy (DVN), as shareholders fled the oil and gas exploration name on concerns over how much cash it's begun to burn in light of the record-low price environment.
Chipmaker Micron Technology (MU) was not far behind with a 7% drop, reflecting mounting worries since rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced dismal 2016 sales guidance in an aftermarket earnings call Tuesday. Advanced Micro shares dropped 8% Wednesday.
But perhaps the most unusual gain on the day was Twitter (TWTR), which rebounded 8% from its morning trading levels, apparently on rumors that News Corporation (NWSA) may be lurking as a takeover bidder. (Twitter is among the holdings in Jim Cramer's charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS).
The possibility of a Twitter takeover has increasingly been discussed, since the social media network's market cap has shrunk by roughly 54% over the past 12 months, potentially attracting bargain hunters. But gossip of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch getting involved seems to have sparked renewed enthusiasm from opportunistic investors reviewing the tech M&A landscape.