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Thursday's Energy Stocks: Atwood up 1.97% on merger approval, Sempra down 2.22%

Broader markets moved higher on Thursday, Oct. 5, with the midstream leading way among energy sectors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.50% to close at 22,775.39, and the S&P 500 advanced 0.56% to 2,552.07. The SNL Energy Index closed 0.36% higher at 290.91.

The SNL Midstream Energy Index wrapped the day 1.04% higher at 112.97. QEP Resources Inc. and USD Partners LP were among the top performers in the sector. QEP Resources shares rose 7.53% to $9.14 on active volume, and USD Partners shares increased 1.42% to finish at $10.75 on below-average volumes.

Offshore driller Atwood Oceanics Inc. saw a 1.97% hike in share price to close at $9.32 on about five times the average volume after securing shareholder approval for its merger with Ensco plc. Ensco shares increased 0.34% to close at $5.83 on heavy volume.

Cheniere Energy Inc. stock edged up 1.61% to close at $46.55 on an active day, after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allowed its subsidiaries Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC and Sabine Pass LNG LP to begin service for natural gas liquefaction and export activities from facilities that make up the fourth train at the Sabine Pass export terminal.

Kinder Morgan Inc. shares increased 1.49% at the closing bell to $19.10 on high volume, after subsidiary Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd signed contracts with two of the six contractors it tapped for the C$7.4 billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project.

Analysts say Targa Resources Corp.'s addition to Kinder Morgan and DCP Midstream LP's plans to jointly develop a nearly 2 Bcf/d Permian-to-Gulf Coast pipeline project increases the odds of the potential megaproject reaching a final investment decision. Targa shares increased 3.01% at market close to $48.27 on above-average volume, and DCP added 1.79% to close at $35.24 on light volume.

Encana Corp. shares added 0.56% per share on the Toronto exchange to end the session at C$14.37 in light trading after the company began operations at its Sunrise processing plant, the second to go into service out of three Encana-built facilities designed to serve Montney Shale production.

In the power sector, 8point3 Energy Partners LP reported fiscal third-quarter 2017 adjusted EBITDA of $53.5 million after market close Oct. 4, compared with $32.9 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2016. The company's shares lost 0.40% to settle at $14.96 in brisk trading.

Atlantica Yield plc grew 5.04% to finish an active session at $20.42, and Dynegy Inc. added 2.37% to close at $9.52 on thin volume.

The SNL Merchant Generator Index added 0.55% to close at 101.12.

Sempra Energy shares lost 2.22% to settle at $112.02 on more than double the average volume. The company, along with Energy Future Holdings Corp., or EFH, and Oncor Electric Delivery Co. LLC filed for Public Utility Commission of Texas approval on the proposed acquisition of EFH, which owns 80.03% of Oncor.

After market close Oct. 4, Sempra management announced plans to acquire all interests in EFH, cutting out additional third-party investors, which had been the initial plan to gain 80% ownership of Oncor. Instead, Sempra will shoulder the entirety of acquisition, financing through the public debt and equity markets by targeting a $9.45 billion capital raise, split 65% in new equity issuance and 35% debt issuance, according to its Oct. 4 investor presentation.

The SNL Electric Company Index finished 0.35% down at 482.35.

NYMEX November natural gas futures turned higher, but the market backed off the $2.995/MMBtu session high delivered after the release of a surprisingly small injection into natural gas inventories and finished in the red. The contract ended the session 1.7 cents lower at $2.923/MMBtu.

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