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Monday's Energy Stocks: Higher oil prices buoy energy equities

Broader markets closed the Monday, June 18, trading day with losses while the energy sector and oil prices settled in positive territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 0.41% to close the day at 24,987.47, and the S&P 500 slid 0.21% to 2,773.75.

Venezuela and Iraq are supporting Iran's plan to oppose a Saudi Arabia-backed proposal to increase oil output among members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil producers. That prompted Brent crude to spike 2.59% to $75.34 per barrel, while Light Sweet crude lifted 1.21% to $65.85 per barrel.

Moody's on June 18 downgraded its outlook on the regulated utilities sector to "negative," citing lower cash flows and higher debt levels as federal tax reform and increased capital spending continue to weigh on the sector.

Among sector components, Ameren Corp. rose 1.18% to $57.64, while NRG Energy Inc. retreated 1.20% to $32.98, and SCANA Corp. decreased 1.05% to $36.92.

The S&P 500 Utilities Sector gained 0.35% to 252.11, the S&P 500 Energy Sector advanced 1.12% to 553.66, and the Alerian MLP Index rose 1.30% to 265.52.

American Midstream Partners LP moved up 4.52% in above-average trading to end at $10.40, after announcing plans to sell its marine products terminaling business for about $210 million in cash to institutional investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management. The divestiture includes the Harvey and Westwego terminals in the Port of New Orleans and the Brunswick terminal in the Port of Brunswick in Georgia.

CVR Energy Inc. added 2.87% in brisk trading to close at $39.39, after starting an exchange offer to acquire common units of its refining master limited partnership CVR Refining LP, which closed the day 3.49% higher to $23.75 on strong volume. Through the deal, CVR Energy and its affiliates, including Icahn Enterprises LP, are seeking control of at least 80% of the common units of CVR Refining.

Exxon Mobil Corp. shares ticked up 0.20% on below-average volume to close at $80.82. The company is looking into importing LNG into Australia to avert a projected gas supply shortage starting in 2021. "Combined with the existing Gippsland resource and infrastructure, an LNG import facility could ensure ExxonMobil can continue to meet our customers' needs," the company told Reuters.

Shares of Paramount Resources Ltd. advanced 0.86% in light trading to finish at C$15.27 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the company agreed to sell its oil and gas properties in the Kakwa region of western Alberta to Strath Resources Ltd. for C$340 million in total consideration. The assets include 201 sections of land with proved reserves of about 6.3 million barrels of oil equivalent and proved plus probable reserves of about 8.1 MMboe as of Dec. 31, 2017.

TransCanada Corp. added 3.15% on heavy volume to finish at C$56.58 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after saying that it will push through with a C$140 million plan to further expand its NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. pipeline system after receiving sufficient shipper commitments during an open season.

Vistra Energy Corp. declined 0.97% in light trading to settle at $23.52, after revising its financial information and related disclosures in its 2017 Form 10-K to reflect the establishment of an asset closure segment.

Connecticut Water Service Inc. rose 1.25% on light volume to $65.81, after announcing the conclusion of its "go-shop" period, in which it received no offers or indications of interest to rival SJW Group's acquisition bid. SJW Group declined 0.30% on strong volume to $66.44.

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