Shares of energy companies fell in premarket trade Thursday, after crude futures dropped below $50 a barrel for the first time in 2017. The April contract slid $1.41, or 2.8%, to $48.88 a barrel, after trading as high as $50.84 earlier in the day. May Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange also erased gains, sliding $1.42, or 2.7%, to $51.69 a barrel. Traders in London said the drop came as traders stopped betting oil prices will go higher and sold out of their long positions. NRG Energy Inc. led the decliners, shedding 3.9% premarket. Chesapeake Energy Corp. slid 1.8% and Devon Energy Corp. was down 2%. Marathon Oil fell 1.8% and Cimarex Energy Co. was down 1.6%. Among oil majors, Exxon Mobil Corp. fell 0.6%, Chevron Corp. was down 0.7% and ConocoPhillips was down 0.9%. The U.S. Oil Fund exchange-traded fund was down 2.3%.
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