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Tuesday's Energy Stocks: Noble Energy spikes 10.8% on plans to boost production

Broader markets and the energy sector closed Tuesday, Feb. 20, trading on the negative side of the ledger, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreating 1.01% to close at 24,964.75 and the S&P 500 declining 0.58% to end at 2,716.26.

Reversing the downward trend, Noble Energy Inc. shares jumped 10.81% on more than three times the average volume to finish at $29.12, after announcing plans to increase production by more than 10% while cutting its budget approximately in half. On the earnings front, the company's fourth-quarter 2017 adjusted net income attributable to Noble Energy of $156 million, or 32 cents per diluted share, beat the S&P Capital IQ normalized consensus estimate of 4 cents per share.

Noble Energy also signed 10-year contracts to sell natural gas from the Leviathan and Tamar offshore gas fields of Israel to supply industrial and petrochemical customers and to support future power generation in Egypt.

Meanwhile, Noble Midstream Partners LP shed 2.55% on thin volume to close the day at $51.91.

Delek Logistics Partners LP lost 3.05% to end at $30.20, while Green Plains Partners LP added 0.56% to close at $18.10, both on light volume, after forming a joint venture focused on the light products terminalling business. They also agreed to buy two light product terminals from an American Midstream Partners LP affiliate for $138.5 million. American Midstream Partners ticked up 0.83% to $12.20 on below-average volume.

Utilities garnered the biggest losses for the day. Duke Energy Corp. fell 1.32% on brisk volume to close at $75.69, after it posted fourth-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings of $656 million, or 94 cents per share. The result beats the S&P Capital IQ normalized consensus EPS estimate for the most recent quarter of 92 cents.

Company officials said during a Feb. 20 earnings call that Duke Energy will issue $2 billion in equity this year as it compensates for the near-term hit to earnings and its EPS growth rate caused by federal tax reform. On the same day, the company signed an equity distribution agreement for the potential sale of up to $1 billion of its common stock from time to time.

Avangrid Inc. reported fourth-quarter 2017 adjusted net income of $188 million, or 61 cents per share, missing the S&P Capital IQ normalized consensus estimate of 63 cents per share. CEO James Torgerson told analysts during an earnings call that the company's decision to exit the gas storage business and explore beyond the northeastern U.S. for opportunities in renewables is part of its focus on a "smarter and cleaner energy future." Avangrid closed the day 1.27% lower in strong trading to $49.58.

NiSource Inc. declined 1.96% on heavy volume to finish at $23.02, after its fourth-quarter 2017 net operating earnings of $110.3 million, 33 cents per share, topped the S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate of 32 cents. Executives said during an earnings call that they are working with regulators as the company adapts to changes in the U.S. corporate tax code that are expected to reduce cash flow to utilities.

American Electric Power Co. Inc. retreated 1.32% in light trading to settle at $66.37, after Guggenheim Securities LLC upgraded the company to "neutral" from "sell," with a price target of $64.

March natural gas traded higher in the truncated workweek's opening session Tuesday in short covering amid growing sentiment of oversold conditions after the contract's recent decline. At the settle, March futures gained 5.8 cents to $2.616/MMBtu.

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