The Energy sector (XLE) held steady on a trading day that saw S&P 500 drop 0.3%.

While being down today, the ETF, as a proxy for sector performance, tracked closer to the overall market today than over the past month. Entering today's trading, XLE was up 5.8% over the last thirty trading days while the S&P 500 was down 4.9%.

EV Energy Partners L.P (EVEP) was a major gainer in the sector, rising 8.4% (+$4.56) to close at $59.10 with one million shares moving. The stock traded in a range of $56 to $59.35. Shares have shown some positive movement over the last two months as the price has climbed $11.90 (25.2%) from a price of $47.20 on June 22, 2012. Alpha Natural Resources (ANR) was another big mover, climbing 40 cents (+6.2%) to a closing price of $6.90.

Rex Energy Corporation (REXX) rose 8.2% to close at $13.07, cross its 50-day moving average of $12.31 and 200-day moving average of $11.27. CNOOC (CEO) declined 3.2% to close at $194.50, moving below its 50-day moving average of $199.38 and 200-day moving average of $199.60.

Enerplus (ERF) rose 4% to close at $16.17, getting closer to its 200-day moving average or $17.12. PetroChina Company (CXO) fell 1.4% to close at $125.84, moving closer to its 50-day moving average of $125.35. Also, the stock moved closer to its 200-day moving average of $94.01.

BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty (BPT) was a major loser in the sector. Its price dropped 6.1% (-$7.05) to close at $107.94, as 843,075 shares moved. The stock traded in a range of $104.75 to $114.70. The stock has been falling recently, and shares are down $10.51 (-8.9%) from a price of $118.45 on August 14, 2012.

PHI (PHII) hit a new 52-week high today, reaching $29.00 to top the previous high of $27.92.