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Friday's Energy Stocks: Wall Street retreats, Southern slips 2%

Broader markets capped the Friday, Dec. 22, trading session in negative territory after President Donald Trump signed the Republican tax cut bill and a short-term funding measure to keep the government running through Jan. 19, 2018. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 0.11% to finish at 24,754.06, while the S&P 500 dipped 0.05% to 2,683.34. The SNL Energy Index added 0.35% to end the week at 284.49.

Southern Co. closed down 2.00% in robust trading to finish at $48.50. Some analysts view the regulatory vote allowing continued construction at the Vogtle nuclear project as holding the "potential for long-term pressure" on Southern, despite being a positive development for Georgia Power Co.

Among merchants, NRG Energy Inc. gained 2.55% on strong volume to settle at $28.16, 8point3 Energy Partners LP finished 1.14% up in light trading to $15.14, while Atlantic Power Corp. slid 2.08% in active trading to conclude the day at $2.35.

Hess Corp. climbed 1.45% on light volume to end at $47.01, after closing the sale of its subsidiary Hess Norge AS to Norwegian producer Aker BP ASA for $2 billion.

Northwest Natural Gas Co. picked up 0.26% on thin volume to close at $58.95, after agreeing to acquire two privately owned water utilities in Oregon and Idaho: Salmon Valley Water Co., based in Welches, Ore., which provides service to about 975 customers; and Falls Water Co., based in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and serving about 5,500 customers.

Ultra Petroleum Corp. completed the divestment of its nonoperated assets in the Marcellus Shale to Alta Marcellus Development LLC for $115 million. The company closed the trading day 5.14% down in light trading to $9.23.

Andeavor ticked up 1.04% in below-average trading to settle at $112.18, after completing an offering of $1.0 billion of senior notes. The proceeds of the offering will be used to repay revolver debt and for general corporate purposes.

In the coal sector, Ramaco Resources Inc. spiked 8.72% on below-average volume to finish at $6.11, Foresight Energy LP advanced 3.83% in light trading to close at $3.80, and Peabody Energy Corp. added 1.18% on thin volume to end at $38.45.

January 2018 natural gas futures turned higher in pre-holiday weekend short covering with cold weather on tap for key heat-consuming regions. The contract moved to a $2.673/MMBtu intraday high and settled 6.9 cents higher on the session at $2.667/MMBtu.

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