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Wednesday's Energy Stocks: Street, energy gain as trade tensions cool

As trade tensions between the U.S. and China began to cool with expectations of a trade deal in the near future, investor confidence got a boost Wednesday, Dec. 12. Most energy stocks, though not utilities, also took advantage of the overall positive sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average grew 0.64% to close at 24,527.27, and the S&P 500 ticked up 0.54% to 2,651.07.

In the oil and gas sector, EnLink Midstream Partners LP signed a three-year unsecured term loan agreement for $850 million, and general partner EnLink Midstream LLC entered into a revolving credit agreement to combine the two entities' revolvers into one $1.75 billion facility. The two entities are merging in a simplification roll-up. EnLink Midstream shares added 2.73% to close at $11.30, and EnLink Midstream Partners units climbed 3.90% to $13.32 after heavy trading.

Plains All American Pipeline LP stock jumped 2.25% to $22.69, and Plains GP Holdings LP shares climbed 2.47% to $22.03, both on roughly average volume. PAA GP Holdings LLC named Alexandra Pruner as an independent member of the board and audit committee. PAA GP Holdings' board is responsible for managing the business and affairs of Plains All American and Plains GP Holdings.

Enbridge Inc. stock got a 0.86% boost to close an active session at $31.76 after Moody's placed the Canadian pipeline operator on review for a possible upgrade to its credit rating. The rating agency is taking the review in light of Enbridge's recent move toward a corporate simplification.

Among major gainers in the industry were Helmerich & Payne Inc., TechnipFMC PLC and Newfield Exploration Co. Helmerich & Payne shares moved up 3.23% to $61.94, TechnipFMC shares ascended 3.16% to $21.24, and Newfield Exploration stock was up 2.37% to $15.95, all in above-average trading.

EQM Midstream Partners LP stock inched up 0.56% to $46.32. A couple of hedge fund managers have asked Equitrans Midstream Corp. to revise its proposal that would exchange EQM Midstream's required cash payments to the company for 95 million units and a noneconomic general partner interest in the partnership. Equitrans Midstream slid 0.92% to $21.51 on less than half the average volume.

Among losers on the day were Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., with a share price slipping 2.94% to $24.45, and Dominion Energy Midstream Partners LP, with shares trimming 1.25% to close at $18.97, both on below-average volumes.

The S&P 500 Energy Index made a 0.33% gain to 465.37, and the Alerian MLP Index climbed 0.60% to 240.74.

In the electric and diversified utilities sector, Southern Co. saw its share price slip 1.16% to $47.01 on below-average volume. Southern subsidiary Southern Power Co. sold a passive equity stake in eight wind power plants to financial investors for $1.2 billion.

Dominion Energy Inc. shares lost 1.30% to finish at $75.26, and Duke Energy Corp. stock gave up 1.31% to close at $89.60, both on above-average volumes.

SCANA Corp. stock edged up 2.26% to $48.00, and NRG Energy Inc. shares rose 1.30% to $42.21.

In renewables, Canadian Solar Inc. secured $50 million in project financing for the proposed 100-MWp Cafayate solar facility in Argentina as part of the RenovAR program. Canadian Solar shares advanced 4.54% on a slow day to $16.81.

Among other major players in the renewable energy business, SunPower Corp. stock gained 1.75% to $6.41 on slim volume, and Sunrun Inc. stock added 2.05% to close a light session at $14.41.

The S&P 500 Utilities Index underperformed the general trend, losing 0.58% to close at 284.51.

Market prices and index values are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change.