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Friday's Energy Stocks: Southwestern rises on Q2 results; broader markets, utilities advance

SouthwesternEnergy Co. shares spiked as high as 12% on Friday, July 22, closing9.54% up in heavy volume at $14.47. The company an adjusted second-quarter EPSloss of 9 cents after the market closed on July 21, beating the S&P CapitalIQ's consensus expectation by a cent.

Southwestern also decided to double its 2016 drilling budgetto $750 million and stand up five rigs: two in the southwest Marcellus Shale,two in the northeast Marcellus and one Arkansas' Fayetteville Shale.Southwestern said the move would allow it to capture the $3/MMBtu-plus gasprices predicted for 2017.

"Based on this strong operational performance and ourhigh-quality assets, improved commodity prices, a stronger balance sheet —including the preservation of our strong liquidity position and funds earmarkedfrom our equity offering — we are re-initiating economic drilling andcompletion activities in each of our operating areas," CEO William Waytold analysts on Southwestern's earnings conference call July 22.

shed 5.09% in strongvolume to settle at $37.87, after launchingan offering of 8,000,000 common units priced at $37.90 per unit. Theunderwriter was granted a 30-day option to buy up to 1,200,000 additionalcommon units and the offering is scheduled to close July 27.

rose 1.47% in thin volume toend at $33.75 after boosting its second-quarter cash distribution by half a cent, to51 cents per unit. The distribution,representing an increase of 1% over the first quarter and 16% over the secondquarter of 2015, willbe paid Aug. 12 to unit holders of record Aug. 2.

The SNL Midstream Energy Index climbed 0.45% to 119.26.

August natural gas futures were higher in the week's closingsession with the support of warm weather, shrinking storage overhangs andsteady production. The contract grew to a $2.795/MMBtu intraday high andsettled 8.5 centshigher at $2.777/MMBtu.

In the coal sector, NaturalResource Partners LP dipped 6.65% to $21.21, fell1.52% to $5.75, and WestmorelandCoal Co. went down 0.21% to $9.59.

The SNL Coal Index climbed 0.02% to 60.23.

FirstEnergyCorp. ticked 1.53% higher in robust trading to finish at $36.51,with the announcement that it will abandon856 MW of coal-fired capacity in Ohio, a move that would result in asecond-quarter 2016 pretax impairment charges of approximately $647 million.The company said it will retire units 1-4 at the seven-unit W.H. Sammis inStratton, Ohio, in May 2020. The four units have a combined capacity of 720 MW.

NorthWesternCorp. climbed 1.65% to end at $62.30, after second-quarter 2016 adjustedEPS of 65 cents, compared with adjusted EPS of 48 cents in the same quarter of2015. The result beats the second-quarter 2016 consensus normalized EPSestimate of 55 cents as aggregated by S&P Capital IQ. NorthWestern alsoreaffirmed its full-year 2016 adjusted EPS guidance range of $3.20 to $3.35.

PG&E Corp.ended 1.34% higher in above-average volume to $65.02. Moody's its outlook on PG&Eand Pacific Gas and Electric positive, noting it could upgrade the companies over the next year dependingon the outcome of legal proceedings tied to the 2010 San Bruno pipelineexplosion.

Electric utilities closed theweek on a positive note with the Dow Jones Utility Average rising 1.40% to720.45 and the Philadelphia Utility index earning 1.36% to 669.07. climbed 2.21%to $35.21, El Paso Electric Co.increased 2.12% to $48.20, and HawaiianElectric Industries Inc. rose 2.12% to $31.38.

The SNL Electric Company Index went up 1.09% to 450.33.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.29% to18,570.85, and the S&P 500 gained 0.46% to 2,175.03.

Market prices andindex values are current as of the time of publication and are subject tochange.