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Friday's Energy Stocks: Utilities usher markets to new peaks

Broader markets reached new record highs on Friday, June 2, receiving a boost from utilities. The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached an all-time high of 21,225.04 and closed the session 0.29% higher at 21,206.29. The S&P 500 peaked at 2,440.23 and settled 0.37% higher at 2,439.07.

The energy sector, however, failed to extend the previous day's gains as the SNL Energy Index trickled 0.25% lower to 291.49.

Among top-performing electric utilities for the day, PNM Resources Inc. rose 1.55% on slightly lower volume to close at $39.35, Otter Tail Corp. edged up 1.49% in light trading to $40.80 and Portland General Electric Co. advanced 1.05% on light volume to end the week at $48.02.

Eversource Energy shares ticked up 0.03% on brisk volume to close at $62.37, after agreeing to acquire all outstanding equity interests of Macquarie Utilities Inc. under a deal valued at about $1.68 billion. The company intends to fund the transaction with a combination of cash and a small amount of debt.

Shares of Great Plains Energy Inc. added 0.10% on about average volume to finish at $28.99. Its subsidiary Kansas City Power & Light Co. announced plans to retire six generating units at the company’s Montrose, Lake Road CT and Sibley power plants.

The SNL Electric Company Index climbed 0.35% to 480.95, while the SNL Energy Small Diversified Index rose 0.56% to 368.32.

In the midstream space, Cheniere Energy Inc. rolled back 1.14% on thin volume to finish at $48.70, after its subsidiary Midship Holdings LLC struck agreements with funds managed by EIG Global Energy Partners LLC for up to $500 million of investments in Cheniere's Midship interstate pipeline project to pull natural gas from Oklahoma.

The project has also received commitments from affiliates of Cheniere, Devon Energy Corp., Marathon Oil Corp. and Gulfport Energy Corp. underpinning initial construction of about 1,000,000 Dth/d of capacity. Devon Energy slid 3.33% in brisk trading to $33.13, Marathon Oil shed 2.90% in about average trading to $12.72, while Gulfport Energy hit a 52-week low of $13.30 before settling 5.30% down at $13.39 following heavy trading.

Williams Partners LP saw a decrease of 1.45% to close at 38.82, on light trading. The partnership notified holders of its 4.875% senior notes due 2023 that it plans to redeem all the outstanding notes for cash on July 3.

The SNL Midstream Energy Index dropped 0.90% to 113.22.

Coal companies bore the biggest losses during the session as the SNL Coal Index tumbled 2.45% to 62.84. Peabody Energy Corp. fell 3.03% on strong volume to $23.40, Cloud Peak Energy Inc. slumped 4.78% in light trading to $3.19, and Westmoreland Coal Co. dropped to a 52-week low of $6.16 before closing the day 4.46% lower at $6.21, following below-average trading volume.

July natural gas futures seesawed through the week's closing session Friday, June 2, but mostly clung to the downside before settling the session 0.9 cent lower at $2.999/MMBtu.

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