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Thursday's Energy Stocks: EQT up 9.96% on Q4'17 results, Street continues gains

Broader indexes claimed modest gains for a fifth straight day Thursday, Feb. 15. Most energy equities landed in positive territory as well, with electric utilities posting a strong performance.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average grew 1.23% to close at 25,200.37, and the S&P 500 advanced 1.21% to end the session at 2,731.20. The SNL Energy Index added 1.09% to finish at 275.70.

In the midstream sector, EQT Corp. shares leaped 9.96% to finish the session at $53.34 on three-times average volume. The company reported strong fourth-quarter 2017 results, with net income growing to $1.28 billion, or $5.83 per share, compared to a loss of $192.0 million, or $1.11 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

The spike in net income stemmed from the new federal tax laws, which EQT said created a benefit of about $1.2 billion for revaluing existing net deferred tax liabilities to lower its corporate tax rate.

TransCanada Corp. stock closed 5.01% up on brisk volume at C$56.33 after the release of financial results. The company reported fourth-quarter 2017 comparable earnings of C$719 million, or 82 Canadian cents per share, an increase from C$626 million, or 75 Canadian cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Additionally, TransCanada committed to a C$2.4 billion expansion project on its NGTL natural gas pipeline system that would increase export capacity by 1 Bcf/d in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.

Enterprise Products Partners LP declined 1.08% to close at $26.79 on thin volume after closing $2.7 billion in public debt offerings.

The SNL Midstream Energy Index shed 0.29% to end the day at 109.06.

Among renewable companies, SunPower Corp. shares retreated 1.20% to close a heavy trading session at $7.39. The company reported fourth-quarter 2017 non-GAAP net income of $35.8 million, or 25 cents per share Feb. 14, compared with fourth-quarter 2016 net income of $3.3 million, or 2 cents per share. SunPower said it is cutting costs and looking for more international business as the effects of a new round of U.S. tariffs on solar power equipment begin rippling through the domestic market.

The SNL Merchant Generator Index added 1.18% to finish the day at 102.27.

Fortis Inc. said the performance of its electric utility business gave a boost to fourth-quarter adjusted net earnings attributable to common equity shareholders of C$259 million, or 62 cents per share. Fortis shares increased 1.95% on above-average volume to end at $32.45.

NextEra Energy Inc. stock grew 2.90% on slightly above-average volume to end the session at $154.43.

Sempra Energy shares climbed 2.38% on about average volume to finish at $107.98 after Texas regulators indicated they would approve the company's acquisition of Oncor Electric Delivery Co. LLC on March 8.

ALLETE Inc.'s fourth-quarter 2017 net income attributable to the company was $41.4 million, or 81 cents per share, down from $44.3 million, or 89 cents per share, in the comparable period of 2016. ALLETE shares inched up 0.40% to close at $68.32 on high volume.

The SNL Electric Company Index climbed 2.51% to end the day at 464.35.

March natural gas futures fought off buying triggered by the report of a larger-than-expected withdrawal from natural gas inventories for the week to Feb. 9, ending the session in shallow negative territory amid a breakdown in support. The contract settled 0.7 cent lower at $2.580/MMBtu.

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