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Enterprise, NextEra, Duke retain top 3 spots by market cap in Q4'16

Enterprise Products Partners LP continued to occupy the first spot and was the only midstream company to secure a place in the top five on the list of the top 20 SNL-covered, U.S.-headquartered energy companies by market capitalization at the end of fourth quarter 2016. Power giants NextEra Energy Inc. and Duke Energy Corp. also retained their second and third spots, followed by Southern Co. and Dominion Resources Inc., respectively.

In spite of a 2.1% quarter-over-quarter drop, Enterprise remained firmly atop the ranking with a market cap of $56.90 billion, with an approximately 11% year-over-year surge in its market cap. Analysts and investors have tagged Enterprise as a midstream player positioned to benefit from an upbeat outlook on the Permian Basin in Texas. After its failed bid for Williams Cos. Inc., the Houston-based midstream giant is still on the hunt for attractively priced companies and assets.

NextEra occupied the second spot despite a market cap decrease of 2.3% between the third and fourth quarters to land at $55.82 billion as of Dec. 30, 2016. The Juno Beach, Fla.-based company in late October 2016 announced two deals to become the 100% owner of Oncor Electric Delivery Co. LLC.

With a market cap of approximately $54.30 billion as of Dec. 30, 2016, Duke Energy came in third on the list and recorded a 1.5% drop in its market cap from the third quarter. Duke completed its exit from the Latin American market in December 2016 when it closed the sale of a 2,090-MW portfolio of 10 hydroelectric power plants in Brazil to China Three Gorges Corp. for about $1.2 billion, as well the sale of its assets in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador and Argentina to New York-based infrastructure fund I Squared Capital in a deal worth $1.2 billion.

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U.S. midstream companies saw some of the heaviest surges in their market cap from the third quarter. Plains GP Holdings LP's market cap increased 306.2% quarter over quarter to $33.75 billion, and Plains All American Pipeline LP recorded a 68.2% jump in its market cap to about $21.56 billion. During the quarter, Plains completed a $7.2 billion plan to simplify its ownership and governance structure. Energy Transfer Partners LP, which is in the middle of a $21.6 billion purchase by Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, saw its market cap increase 15.3% quarter over quarter to $26.06 billion.

Among U.S. power companies, Exelon Corp. experienced the largest increase, of 6.6% in its market cap to $32.77 billion, improving its ranking by one spot to land in the eighth position, and Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. recorded a 5% quarter-over-quarter increase in its market cap to finish the last quarter of 2016 at $22.20 billion.

On the other hand, Kinder Morgan Inc. recorded the largest drop in its market cap, to $46.23 billion as of Dec. 30, 2016, a decrease of 10.4% from the third quarter, followed by Sempra Energy with a 6.1% drop in its market cap to $25.17 billion. The market caps for Southern Co. and Spectra Energy Corp. were each down 3.9% quarter over quarter, to $48.34 billion and $28.83 billion, respectively.

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